NHS Lotto squares up to Camelot

NHS Lotto, a little-known charitable lottery which raises money for hospitals, will relaunch next month as the first serious rival to the National Lottery.

It hopes to cash in on bad publicity surrounding the National Lottery, which has been criticised for not giving enough to “good causes” and prizes being too large. It promise to give 25 per cent of funds to national health service causes and make a millionaire a week,

The new-look NHS Lotto starts on June 1, although an advertising campaign to promote it – created by TBWA – breaks later this week in national newspapers and on Carlton TV.

NHS Lotto claims it offers a greater chance of winning than the National Lottery – one in 9.5 million compared with Camelot’s one in 14 million odds.

The game involves players spending 1 to select five numbers between 1 and 49. Each player gets two chances to win.

The first chance is to choose the five numbers, which are then selected each week in a televised draw. A two-minute lottery programme will be broadcast in commercial airtime on Channel 4, at 7.58pm on Thursday nights.

The second chance involves selecting a set of five numbers to compete for a “1m weekly jackpot”. Players who match all numbers get the chance to appear in the TV draw the following week to select their prize from one of five envelopes – one of which will contains the 1m prize.