Camelot Gets the Nod

19 December 2000
The National Lottery Commission has chosen Camelot to operate the U.K. National Lottery for the next seven years. After finally making a decision months past the original deadline, the commissioners will probably be forced to defend their choice before a judge.

It's been reported that Sir Richard Branson has warned that he would take the battle to court if his People's Lottery consortium didn't get the nod after promising it would raise more money for good causes.

The decision wasn't easily made. The commissioners debated 12 hours last night before voting 4-1 to re-up Camelot's license.

After the vote, Commissioner Hilary Blume resigned her position. "I could not agree with the decision to award the license to run the lottery to Camelot," Blume explained. "I believe the lottery needs a relaunch to arrest declining sales. Assuming that they (The People's Lottery) could achieve equivalent sales to those of Camelot, more would flow to good causes."

The other commissioners, however, were concerned that switching license holders would be a costly venture. "Although the People's Lottery offers higher contributions to the National Lottery Distribution Fund than Camelot at the same sales levels, this factor is outweighed by two considerations," the Commissioners said in a statement.

"The first," they added, "is that the commission has concluded that Camelot is on balance likely to deliver more sale over the licence period than The People's Lottery.

"The second is that the accumulation of risks that is inherent in the People's Lottery bid, particularly in the early stages, is uncomfortably high by comparison with those posed by Camelot's bid."

This is the second time that Camelot and Branson have been involved in a face-off to run the lottery. Camelot also outbid Branson in 1994, when it began it's first term as the lottery's operator.