UK Mobile lottery launches
By paul
Mobile phone operator T-Mobile and Mlotto this week launch the UK's first lottery games on mobile phones. The Mobile Lottery allows punters to play one of three games for £1 ($1.67)with the chance of winning up to £1,000 ($1,678).

The Mobile Lottery launches months before of an anticipated launch by Camelot, operator of the UK National Lottery, which plans to introduce lottery games for mobile phones to counter the decrease in ticket sales of the offline game. Camelot is negotiating with all the major mobile operators and wants to launch a range of mobile lottery games, probably in the summer of 2004.

About 75% of the UK population have a mobile phone, so mobile operators and gambling companies think there’s a market.

Charles Cohen, founder and chief executive of the Mobile Lottery, said the company’s goal is to take 5% of the UK scratch cards lottery market, which is estimated at £700 million ($1,175,000) per year.

'If you can distribute tickets through phones you can potentially have a terminal in the hands of 70 per cent of the population 24 hours a day,' Cohen said.

The Mobile Lottery service is being launched with T-Mobile but phone users on other networks will be able to access the company's full range of games, which include a slot machine game and a bingo-type game. 20p from each £1 ($1.67) spent goes to one of 10 charities.

The games are compatible with WAP phones, and the player must hold a credit card as proof of age – 18 years is the minimum age. Games are paid for by credit card and winnings are sent to the credit card holder's home address, but soon players will have the choice of having their winnings credited to their bank account or mobile phone bill.

Other big mobile operators are waiting until controls are in place to prevent under-age gambling, but Cohen said the Mobile Lottery has adequate procedures. 'It is more secure than the paper and pen lottery because we've got all sorts of checks and an audit trail,' he said.

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