Bookies slam Camelot over side-bet move

The betting industry has slammed Camelot for its “hypocrisy” in launching side-bets game Hotpicks. It is illegal for bookmakers to offer side bets on the Lotto draw and the National Lottery operator has firmly resisted attempts to change the law.

In a move that will increase the pressure on Camelot, 49’s, which promotes side-bet games for UK betting shops, is to rebrand its flagship offering the Irish Lotto Bet.

Side bets involve betting on the numbers that will come up in a lottery, rather than buying a ticket for the draw itself, with a fixed pay-out.

Camelot has always maintained that side bets would hit its weekly takings, but Liz Gaffer, director of marketing for 49’s, says Hotpicks “looks very much like side betting, until you look at the small print, where it says the pay-out is variable, depending on the size of the pool.” To hit back, she says, “We are renaming our game because of what Camelot has done in rebranding its main game as Lotto.”

Camelot blames the World Cup again for record low sales for the main Lotto draw on Saturday 15 June – &£41.9m compared with &£42.3m a week earlier.

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