FUNDRAISING NEWS: Mandela supports online game

Jennifer Sprinks

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev have all agreed to be ambassadors for Goodlot, a new online charity lottery operator.

Funds raised from bets placed on the website are fed into the pots of eight main charities including Birdlife and Greenpeace, as well as the ambassadors' chosen charities. GoodLot's strapline is 'Play and the whole world wins'.

Goodlot has been operating since April last year, offering instant-win scratchcard games and daily draws. But now it is set to take on bookies such as Ladbrokes with its animated camel-racing betting game, Camel Lot.

Camel Lot was launched at the end of last month and aims to attract up to 100 players a day. Gamblers pick a camel, choose their stake and watch the race. Betting as little as 10p, players can win back their stake plus the odds if they've chosen the winning camel.

Unlike the usual bookies, which have a serious sporting tone, Goodlot hopes that its amusing spitting camels will appeal to 'soft gamblers' and extend its base of support.

An initiative of Amsterdam-based marketing company Novamedia, Goodlot began testing in July 2002. After receiving its bookmaker's licence in the UK, it set up a UK office in April 2003.

Goodlot has already donated £2.7m to Nelson Mandela's chosen charity, the Peace Parks Foundation, and £6,832 to the National Missing Persons Helpline, Anita Roddick's choice.

"Goodlot.com will be the first global fundraising betting and gaming site," said Annemiek Hoogenboom, managing director of Goodlot. "It is the most heart-warming gaming site on the web."

The charity is poised to launch an email marketing campaign to raise further funds for the National Missing Persons Helpline. "Just like the Body Shop, Goodlot is a business with a heart, and has the potential and power to do good," said Roddick.

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