Camelot executives breathed a sigh of relief this week when the High Court ruled that Internet lottery Millions 2000 would not be allowed to promote itself in the UK.
The lottery, which raises money for the Red Cross, is run from Liechtenstein and sells tickets to players around the world over the Internet. It is planning a draw on the first day of the new millennium, and will run smaller draws in the run-up to the new year.
But Millions 2000 has been forbidden to promote itself or sell tickets in the UK by the Home Office, which claims that it is hard to protect people who play overseas-based lotteries. The lottery is run by the International Lottery in Liechtenstein Foundation, which sought a judicial review to enable it to advertise in the UK.
But Mr Justice Moses has this week upheld the ban, effectively allowing Camelot to maintain its UK monopoly on advertising for on-line lotteries.
In a separate move, the Office of Fair Trading has dropped its investigation into allegations made by Littlewoods that Camelot’s salesforce had bullied store owners into dropping rival scratchcards.
Sales of Thunderball, the new National Lottery online game, hit nearly £6.5m in the first week, 50 per cent higher than Camelot’s target. There was no jackpot winner. Online sales reached £84m and Instants sales were £12m, giving a total of £103m for the week as a whole.