The Lucky 7 Lotto is designed to tap into public concern about the way the National Lottery distributes money to good causes and the lack of public input on where the money goes.
The seven charities selected as beneficiaries in 2005 are Breast Cancer Campaign, Seafarers UK, Acorns Children's Hospice Trust, Children in Crisis, Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, Canine Partners and The Variety Club Children's Charity.
Lucky 7 charities work on a rotational basis, with one charity receiving 20 per cent of the takings from ticket sales each week so punters will know which charity benefits when they buy a ticket. Fifty per cent goes on prizes and 30 per cent to the company.
"Many people feel disenfranchised from the National Lottery, and feel that money for good causes is being directed by a government rather than a social agenda," said Simon Stimpson, chief executive at Helpinghandz, the fundraising and marketing company behind Lucky 7. "When someone buys a ticket for Lucky 7 they know exactly how their money will help a particular person or cause."
Lucky 7 will operate online at first, but plans are afoot for tickets to be sold in supermarkets and newsagents for the same price as a National Lottery ticket.
Helpinghandz estimates that 10 to 15 million people could be playing Lucky 7 by the end of 2005, and that each participating charity could receive up to £1.5m from the new initiative.
The draw will take place every Friday at 5pm, with a top prize of £100,000.
Jon Scourse, director of fundraising and marketing at Seafarers UK, said Lucky 7 was an opportunity for smaller charities to raise their profiles.
But he added that its success ultimately rested on its ability to appeal to people's self-interest.
"People will still buy a ticket because they want to win £100,000, not because they want to change the world," he said.