Lottery organisers fuel national spree

Camelot and Scratch ‘n Win are stepping up their efforts to get UK consumers spending more on lotteries.

This week both Camelot and Scratch ‘n Win lottery organisers are announcing plans for tie-ups between their lottery games and consumer brands, a development which both claim is a first for the European lottery scene.

The launch of the National Lottery 18 months ago has spawned a thousand imitators and there has been a spurt of promotions using lottery-style prize draws to help sell brands.

Now it is the turn of lottery operators to use brands as a means of raising funds and selling their tickets.

The launch by Camelot of its Marketing Partnerships Programme takes lottery branding onto a new level, and if successful will be a measure of how far the National Lottery’s crossed fingers symbol has entered into the popular psyche.

Under the scheme, Camelot will sell the rights to use its logo and name to up to ten brand owners in different market sectors. The companies will be able to use the Camelot brand name on its products, and to give consumers vouchers which can be exchanged for lottery tickets. The brand owners will also be able to put brand messages onto lottery tickets.

Camelot marketing director Jon Kinsey says: “The brand is in a position of relative maturity and the time is right to develop it further. We have had a positive response from companies who see marketing partnerships as a way of adding value to their products.”

The move will also add value to Camelot’s profits – the operator will keep up to half of the money raised for itself.

In the main, it will be helpful for brands to climb onto the National Lottery bandwagon. But, some of the negative PR Camelot has suffered over recent months – from Richard Branson’s allegations of bribery, to the news that it can no longer guarantee the 10 win for three correct numbers – could rebound on the companies in the partnership. Some rivals believe Camelot’s image has contributed to its dwindling Instants sales.

In a parallel move, rival Scratch ‘n Win launches this week what it claims is Europe’s first incentive scratchcard. The Olympic Card has been developed in conjunction with Countdown, the discount card operator. Countdown offers holders of its card discounts on goods and services from burgers and clothes to insurance and holidays, through 60,000 outlets worldwide. The new scratchcard has a tear-off voucher which entitles the holder to a 50 per cent discount in the 18 cost of becoming a Countdown card holder.

Scratch ‘n Win chairman Lord Mancroft says: “This is just a start. As corporate marketing people cotton on, the sky’s the limit. Publishers sell newspapers on the back of scratchcards – imagine using scratchcards to give discounts on newspapers.”

These two ways of adding value to brands reflect Britain’s new obsession with long odds gambling. And they represent how crucial the lottery has become to UK marketers.

Another move takes the lottery into a new area. The news that Scratch n’ Win is to introduce the Keno game into the UK will be a blow to Camelot. Draws for the on-line lottery game are announced every ten to 15 minutes on TV screens in pubs, betting shops and large retail outlets. Entry is 1 and prizes go up to 100,000.

Camelot has seen sales of its scratchcards plummet over the past six months as competitors such as UK Charity Lotteries, Scratch ‘n Win and Littlewoods Scratchcards eat into market share.

Not to worry, Camelot has reasoned, the nation still holds its breath every Saturday night when the numbers of the on-line draw are announced. Strong sales of the on-line game have offset some of the losses on the scratchcards.

Now Mancroft is preparing to launch his game “over the next few weeks or months”, and claims the nation’s betting shops and bingo halls will be permitted to carry the game after deregulation of the betting industry is announced in mid-June.

Add to that thousands of pubs, clubs, sports bars and retailers, and Keno could prove a real threat to Camelot. Keno has the advantage of spontaneity – why wait till Saturday to find out if you’ve won the jackpot, when you can wait just ten minutes? Arguably, as Keno is such a spontaneous purchase, it will take sales from scratchcards and other forms of betting, rather than Camelot’s on-line game. It will also never offer the kind of jackpots that the Lottery on-line game commands.

Camelot’s Kinsey plays down the negative effects that Keno could have on its business. He says: “Experience in the US shows that Keno does not detract from sales of scratchcards or weekly on-line games, rather it creates a new sector.”

But the new spending on gambling will have to come from somewhere – maybe the bookmakers themselves will lose out.

This week’s developments in the lottery market show the ability of the marketers to squeeze every bit of mileage out of the game. The launch of Keno signals there are still plenty of ways that lotteries can develop.

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