Vernons to launch National Lottery game

Pools operator Vernons is poised to become the first organisation other than Camelot to raise funds for the National Lottery.

The two companies are planning a tie-up using Camelot’s National Lottery retail terminals to sell pools games developed by Vernons.

But lottery regulator Oflot has told them that a joint-venture could be confusing for players, and Vernons should become an operator of the National Lottery, like Camelot.

The regulator says any new games from Vernons should be run under a “section six” licence. This little-known provision of the National Lottery Act allows outside companies to run National Lottery games. Vernons would operate the games and pay their costs, pay funds to the Good Causes, and keep any profits for itself. Camelot would be unlikely to make any profits from such a deal.

Vernons will need to develop new games for the launch, as it would not be allowed to run its standard pools games. The new games would be branded as “National Lottery”, and would be played through Lottery terminals in shops. Camelot could charge for use of its network.

A possible tie-up between the two companies was revealed in an exposé in The Mirror newspaper, which claimed Camelot was planning to take over Vernons. This has been ruled out by the parties concerned.

So far, no company has applied to run any games with a section six licence. Cancer charity Tenovus tried to apply to run a scratchcard game, but Camelot communications director David Rigg advised director Marc Phillips that margins on scratchcards were so tight, the charity would be unable to make a profit.

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