Camelot is deliberately holding back on developing new games for its loss-making Instants scratchcard game so it can boost profits, according to rival scratchcard operator Scratch-n-Win.
Scratch-n-Win chairman Lord Mancroft says he believes Camelot is stalling new game development so Instants sales will fall, and losses will be reduced. Weekly sales of Instants fell to an all-time low of 16.9 million two weeks ago.
Camelot is obliged by the 1993 Lotteries Act to sell scratchcards but it effectively has to cross-subsidise the Instants losses from its weekly Saturday draw game. The weekly draw gives it a profit margin of about two per cent, against a loss of up to five per cent on Instants.
Mancroft says Scratch-n-Win has launched two new scratchcard games over the past month, the Jockey Card on behalf of the Injured Jockeys Fund and the Olympic Game for the British Olympic Association.
Camelot admits scratchcards make a loss, but says that together with the on-line game, they are profitable overall. A spokesman says: “It is untrue to say we are not committed to scratchcards. It is important to keep refreshing the brand and keep new players coming in, some of whom will then play the on-line game.”
Camelot is introducing a new scratchcard game this week called Cash Vaults.