Lottery Commission courts international bidders for licence

The Lottery Commission is targeting potential lottery operators in the US, Far East and Australia as it seeks to attract bidders for the new licence.

Speaking at the launch of the statement of main principles document, which outlines the bid process, National Lottery commissioner Robert Foster said that the body, which is being advised by investment bank Rothschild, would be launching a global marketing campaign to attract interest.

The commission is keen to avoid a repeat of the chaotic circumstances surrounding the award of the licence in 2000, which resulted in just two serious bidders and ended with Sir Richard Branson’s People’s Lottery losing out to Camelot following a court case.

In the coming competition, bidders from around the world, believed to include Australian lottery operator Tattersalls, are being courted by the commission.

Despite claims that he was not interested in running again after losing out five years ago (MW December 21, 2000), Branson is also expected to bid again.

The commission has decreed that technology companies and other partners will be able to join more than one consortium to help increase the number of applications.

Rules governing marketing spend of the licence holder are also being reviewed by the commission. At present, a minimum marketing spend is set by the commission in order to ensure that the operator maintains marketing activity throughout the licence period.

Last year, the minimum spend was calculated at about 1.5 per cent of total sales, or &£20m.

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