Lotto slump hits Vernons

Pools operator Vernons is reviewing its National Lottery football game Easy Play after seeing sales slump by two-thirds since its August launch.

The development comes amid allegations that Camelot representatives have suggested Lottery retailers should not to promote the game, which is played through Lottery terminals as part of a licensing agreement with operator Camelot.

A claim by rival scratchcard company Littlewoods Lotteries – that Camelot reps pressurised retailers into dropping the rival cards – is being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading.

Last Saturday (December 12) 509,930 Easy Play tickets priced 1 were sold, with a total prize fund of 193,027. The first draw on August 15 saw 1,530,691 tickets sold and a prize fund which topped 2m.

The ticket sales and prize fund have steadily diminished every week since launch, leading the Ladbrokes-owned company to review its prize structure and how the game is played.

The terminals make a random selection of 11 football matches from a fixture list of 49 for each 1 ticket. Players win if five, six, seven or eight matches are score draws.

A Vernons spokeswoman claims the public has found the game’s mechanism unappealing and improvements are being researched.

However, on an early morning radio programme for newsagents – “Dawn Traders” on Spectrum Radio – National Lottery retailers have alleged Camelot reps put pressure on them not to promote Easy Play.

The Vernons spokeswoman denies knowledge of the allegations. “It’s in everyone’s interest to promote the game,” she says.

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