Camelot’s expansion hopes dashed
By Paul
The UK Government will block any moves by Camelot, the controversial operator of the UK’s National Lottery, to diversify into other forms of gambling. Camelot had previously asked for permission to diversify into other forms of gambling beyond its core lottery business.

The snub from the government will leave Camelot's backers unimpressed. The backers - Cadbury Schweppes, Consignia Enterprises, De La Rue, Fujitsu and Thales Electronics - are eager to find new revenue streams as lottery ticket sales continue to fall.

Despite a recent relaunch and name change, Camelot chief executive Dianne Thompson insisted in a letter to Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell that if the company is to grow, it will need to move into “new areas like games of skill, sport betting and rapid-draw Keno.”

However, the Government appears to have turned down Camelot's suggestion. It does not buy Camelot’s argument that so-called “Lottery fatigue” is inevitable and believes the operator should concentrate on growing sales. The government’s reticence could also be explained by pressure from mainstream UK bookmakers anxious to avoid any further inroads into its turf, as Internet betting becomes popular in the UK. Camelot, meanwhile, is concerned that when gambling is liberalised in the UK from 2004, its sales will suffer.

It’s not all bad news for Camelot, however. The Government will agree to proposals for a £100 million ($155 million) European lottery jackpot game. Camelot has already signed agreements with French and Spanish operators.

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