Camelot is seeking a tightening of the rules on the use of National Lottery tickets for promotions after tabloids gave away more than 50,000 tickets for last Saturday’s 45m jackpot draw.
Marketing departments are banned from using the official National Lottery logo for their own campaigns and no party may sell on lottery tickets once purchased.
However, tabloids have been eager to offer free tickets to readers in an attempt to boost circulation. As long as tickets are given away, neither Camelot – nor Oflot, the lottery regulator – can complain.
Last week, the Daily Mirror bought 10,000 tickets and offered one reader the chance to win them all by phoning an 0990 number to answer two questions.
Meanwhile, The Sun purchased 40,000 tickets. It distributed a free “National Lottery Syndicate” ticket with its Saturday edition which entitled readers to join one of 40,000 “Sun Lottery Syndicates”.
Each Sun syndicate had a different number. With no more than 100 people in each syndicate, readers stood the chance of winning up to 450,000 each.
One Sun syndicate won 104,746. Sun marketing director Ellis Watson this week hailed the initiative “The Sun’s most successful promotion”.
Both newspapers featured the Camelot logo prominently.
“Anything to do with the Lottery stimulates interest,” says Nick Fulliger, Mirror Group’s press spokes-man. “Between 150,000 and 200,000 readers called in for the tickets, which is an extremely good response.”
“We’re good for the Lottery be cause of the coverage it gets,” he adds.
However, Camelot is eager to protect the value of its brand.
“We want lottery tickets regarded as a prestigious product,” a spokeswoman explains. “If tickets are given away, they are tarnished. But there is nothing we can do at the moment to stop this kind of promotion.”
Any further clampdown would require consultation with Oflot and the Department of National Heritage. A date for this has yet to be fixed.