Camelot looks at direct phone plan

Link-up with Mercury and US card company could pave way for playing Lottery over the phone

National Lottery operator Camelot is understood to be discussing with Mercury a plan that could allow consumers to play the lottery using phone cards.

The American card company Card Call, which entered the UK market last year, is believed to be the third partner in the deal. The plan would require a rule change from lottery watchdog Oflot before it could be introduced.

The deal is separate from Cam-elot’s current effort to create co-branding opportunities with packaged goods companies through its Marketing Partnerships scheme. The partners will be revealed on June 6.

An Oflot spokesman says: “There are all sorts of ancillary activities associated with the Lottery. If it is not ancillary and it involves licensing then we would be involved. They would require approval but we have had nothing as yet.”

Card Call has also agreed a separate but related deal with Mercury for a three-year licensing agreement believed to be worth 50m for use of its phone network.

The Card Call cards will carry the National Lottery logo. More im-portantly players will be able to play the game and get information about the winning numbers by calling the 0500 number printed on the back of the cards, which connects with the central Card Call computer.

The cards operate with touch-tone phones and work on the basis of a PIN number which is linked to a specific cash value, ranging from 2 upwards.

The central computer keeps track of the phone time used.

Camelot denies it is about to embark on a scheme which will allow consumers to play over the phone. “We are bringing in different phases of licensed products. We are in discussions with a number of companies but we have no plans to launch a card where people play over the telephone.”

See Camelot story, page 8

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