Letter: Lottery regulator

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The Independent Online
Lottery regulator

While one would agree with the comments in your leading article "The jury's verdict damned the lottery regulator, too" (3 February), there is another aspect of the situation which must be remedied.

The obligations of the regulator to maximise revenue constrain his ability to deal adequately with public interest issues. This is particularly so since Camelot wishes to expand the market and has recently even recommended to the Secretary of State that there should be curbs on the regulator. At the same time, the Culture Department demands increasing amounts of revenue. In such a setting, public interest pressures inevitably become secondary considerations.

In practice therefore, revenue maximisation has become the predominant duty. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the regulator to act in an even-handed way. Such a combination of roles is not found in the statutory powers and duties of any other regulator.

Clearly, a true regulator post, with an overriding statutory obligation to take account of the public interest, needs to be created. The National Lottery Bill at present before Parliament makes no provision for this.


Chairman, The National Council on Gambling

London N14