Suppliers given go-ahead to make multiple bids for National Lottery

Rival consortia bidding to run the National Lottery after November 2001 may include some of the same supplier companies.

The Post Office, for example, could be a member of two or three rival consortiums bidding for the licence.

The National Lottery Commission last week outlined the principles that will guide its choice of a Lottery operator. It said: “Recognising that there are relatively few suppliers of technology services for large online lotteries, the Commission is open to suppliers participating in more than one bid.”

A spokesman says that any of the suppliers – not just those supplying technology – could become involved in more than one bid. The statement underlines the dilemmas facing the Commission. It must show that the bid process is competitive, even though it realises there are few companies interested or capable of running the Lottery.

The consortia have been warned that they will not be able to make the same windfall profits as those earned by Camelot over the past six years.

Bidders have been told not to expect the sort of “fat cat” profits and salaries that have characterised Camelot’s tenure as operator. “The risks faced by the operator should be less than last time,” the Commission says, pointing out that there is far more knowledge about Lottery sales. Bidders will also be encouraged to provide plans for “new forms of access to games”, including Internet and interactive television.

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