Letter: Take action over Camelot's sharp practice

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The Independent Online
Sir: Outrage from the Prime Minister is an appropriate reaction to Camelot's 40 per cent pay-hike for its already fat cats ("Blair outrage at pay rise for lottery chiefs", 29 May). But no one should be surprised. Since the first National Lottery in November 1994, continuing with the first scratchcards in March 1995, Camelot has been getting away with it.

Examples of sharp practice by Camelot have been: keeping the BBC's fee (our cash) for televising the lottery draw; the retention of interest on lottery prizes between their being won and being paid out; holding on to interest (totalling pounds 2.5m at least, according to Camelot's latest revelations) on prizes for scratchcards either never issued, or issued and never sold, and therefore never winnable; the close relationship between the insurance company of the Royal Bank of Scotland (one of Camelot's start-up financiers) and Camelot in advising prize winners on the investment of their lottery cash.

This calls for the immediate replacement of the OFLOT Director-General. Then should come the earliest possible ending of Camelot's contract by whatever legal means possible - a close scrutiny of their contract in relation to their behaviour might achieve this. Next, the running of the lottery and scratchcards should be given, not to another private company, but to National Savings at Blackpool, where Premium Bonds are organised cheaply and most efficiently. The two projects would run easily side by side. After outrage, action is of the essence.

JIM BRUNTON

Edinburgh

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