We'll raise millions, claims TV bingo game creator

A live TV bingo game due to launch on Virgin Media-owned channels next month could raise £16m for good causes in its first year, its creator has predicted.

BingoLotto already gives £100m to charity in Sweden, where the game originates, and its creators hope to see similar success in the UK. At least 20 per cent from sales of its £2 gamecard sales will go to good causes and charities in the UK.

The game’s developer, Gert Ekland, believes the programme will generate £16m for UK good causes in its first year, and double the year after.

“The game has been a huge success in Sweden, even more popular than the country’s national lottery,” said Eklund. “It is the highest rating show in Scandinavian history, giving about £100m to good causes each year, and we hope to have the same success here in the UK.”

The first set of UK good causes to receive funds will be members of the Central Council of Physical Recreation (the representative body for national sports organisations in the UK) and members of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Richard Williams, director of enterprise at the NCVO, said a maximum of £2m would be raised through each draw under Gambling Commission regulation. This amount is potentially to be split between the CCPR and the NCVO to distribute among societies, which will be formed to distribute money directly to good causes.

“For smaller organisations this could be gold dust,” said Williams. “Awards made by the Big Lottery Fund can require a substantial amount of form filling, but the initial plans are to make it as easy as possible to receive the money. As long as they spend it in a responsible time, we will be looking at administrating it with as light a touch as possible.”

BingoLotto Gamecards will be sold from retail outlets in the UK for £2. Viewers will be able to play at home in real time to win cash and other prizes, including holidays and cars. The game will offer odds of 1 in 9.5 against winning a prize. The primetime Friday-night TV show will be fronted by comedian Joe Pasquale, starting on 29 February.

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