20m injection for Loto

NHS Loto operator Pascal bought by company planning to put real muscle into national roll-out

The operator of NHS Loto has been bought by a company planning to pump 20m into fresh marketing and advertising to support the game’s national roll-out.

The new company Stenworld, which was set up in April, has taken a 51 per cent stake in Pascal & Co, and has brought in Canadian consultant David Lim to head the operation as chief executive.

Lim has previously worked in Canada as a lottery consultant and is now searching for a marketing director to spearhead the national launch. The remaining 49 per cent will be retained by the original shareholders.

Created in 1988, the NHS Loto was relaunched in June with a live television draw on Channel 4 in the London area, and 5m backing from US entrepreneur Allan Gunsberg. Gunsberg will remain in the organisation.

But the company has been seeking new finance virtually from the day of the Loto relaunch. The national roll-out is crucial to the survival of the game which has provided an estimated 165,000 to charity through the National Hospital Trust since June. It is attempting to position itself as the second biggest lottery in the UK after Camelot’s National Lottery.

Roger Cummins, who spearheaded the relaunch of NHS Loto in June, has lost day-to-day management of the business, and moves from managing director to chairman.

Lim says: “There will be an interim ‘soft’ launch of the game until the major launch next summer, which will have a marketing budget between 15m and 20m. We hope to become the second largest player in the UK market after Camelot.”

The new funds will be used to install on-line lottery terminals in corner shops, and to extend NHS Loto’s live Channel 4 draw beyond the South-east into the rest of the UK.

“We have got to a stage where we are restricted to the Carlton area but the potential for the lottery is massive,” says a spokeswoman for the National Hospital Trust. “The only way to get bigger is through a massive fillip for marketing and advertising. It needs this injection to go national.”

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