Camelot, the operator of the UK National Lottery, has threatened to take the Gambling Commission to a judicial review as the argument over the new Health Lottery rumbles on.
The Health Lottery is run by Northern & Shell, the media firm run by Richard Desmond, which publishes the Daily Express, Daily Star, OK! Magazine and runs Channel 5. Desmond plans to raise a minimum of GB£ 50 million for health related causes by donating 20 pence from the GB£ 1 tickets. The first Health Lottery draw took place in September 2011 and by October there were already reports that Camelot was considering legal advice as to whether the Health Lottery broke the regulations overseeing society lotteries in the UK.
In a letter written in late February 2012 and seen by The Independent, Camelot told the Gambling Commission that it “proposes to challenge the Commission’s continuing failure to take regulatory action to suspend or revoke the … licences currently held by the Health Lottery”.
The Health Lottery’s Chief Executive Martin Hall said: “The Health Lottery scheme works to represent its 51 society lotteries with the single aim of raising over £50 million for charity, and offering great prizes to give players a great experience. We are already out there making a difference just 2 weeks after launch, having raised over £1m. Irrespective of any practices we might see by others we remain committed to the goal of fair share money raising for every corner of Great Britain in our first year of operation.”
Camelot’s letter to the Commission went on to say: “The Health Lottery represents a particularly blatant example of an attempt to commercialise ‘society lotteries’ on an industrial scale in a way that cuts across both the spirit and the letter of the (Gambling) Act and associated regulation.”