Rival launches on-line challenge to Lottery

Scratchcard operator Scratch ‘n Win is poised to launch the Keno instant on-line lottery game, in a move that could change the face of gambling in Britain.

Keno draws are announced every ten to 15 minutes on TV screens in pubs, betting shops and large retail outlets. Players choose up to ten numbers between one and 80, hand the form to the retailer and the numbers on the ticket are entered into a terminal. Scratch ‘n Win costs 1 to enter and prizes of up to 100,000 will be offered.

The operator plans to launch the Keno game in pubs, clubs, betting shops and retailers around the UK over the next few months – if it gets approval from the Gaming Board.

Scratch ‘n Win, which this week launches a scratchcard to support the British Olympic team, submitted a scheme for approval by the Gaming Board before Christmas. The Board says it is examining the scheme to see whether it is in keeping with the 1976 Lotteries and Amusements Act.

Keno is already hugely successful in the US and Australia, and its launch is bound to create antagonism within the UK anti-gambling lobby. US entrepreneur Donald Trump tried to have Keno banned in New York State, claiming it was “more addictive than crack cocaine”.

National Lottery operator Cam-elot says experience in the US shows Keno creates a new sector of its own rather than taking sales from scratchcards or weekly on-line games.

Scratch ‘n Win’s new Olympic scratchcard includes a tear-off voucher offering half-price membership of the Countdown discount scheme.

See Analysis page 24

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