Branson abandons Lottery ambitions

Sir Richard Branson will not make another bid for the licence to run the National Lottery after losing out to Camelot for a second time.

Branson made the announcement after the National Lottery Commission’s decision by four votes to one to reinstate Camelot ahead of The People’s Lottery, a U-turn from an original decision in August when Camelot appeared to have been defeated.

Commission member Hilary Blume immediately tendered her resignation to secretary of state for culture, media and sport Chris Smith, saying she could not support the decision.

In a statement, Blume says: “I judged The People’s Lottery’s game plan and marketing preferable to Camelot’s.”

Branson says he is “baffled” by the decision, but congratulated Camelot on a good fight.

He adds: “Camelot has been given a licence for life today. They [the commission] might as well have given the licence to them from day one.

“There are always dangers in giving a contract to someone else, but that’s why we have a licence that can be changed. It will be interesting to see what happens in seven years.”

Dianne Thompson, Camelot’s new chief executive, says: “Our bid offers something for everyone. We promised to raise at least £15bn for the Good Causes, to pump £1bn of investment into the Lottery’s technology and keep the protection of our players at the core of our business.” The decision means J Walter Thompson, part of the People’s Lottery bid, will miss out on the lottery creative account.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here