Camelot chief wants to raise awareness of Lottery's good causes

Dianne Thompson stresses the importance of strengthening the links between National Lottery players and the charity causes they support

Dianne Thompson
Dianne Thompson

Dianne Thompson, chief executive of the National Lottery operator Camelot, has called for a "summit" to discuss how to make a closer connection between players of the game and the good causes it supports.

Speaking at an event to mark 18 years of the National Lottery in London last night, Thompson said she had written to other key stakeholders including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the 12 distributors of good cause funding, calling for a meeting to discuss the issue.

Thompson also said that her organisation would propose a limit of 15 per cent for costs and profit for larger society lotteries when the DCMS publishes its expected consultation on the matter.

And she warned that action should be taken to prevent other organisations setting up operations similar to The Health Lottery, launched by the media owner Richard Desmond in 2011, which she said could have a damaging effect on the amount of funds going to good causes.

Thompson said she wanted to strengthen the links between people who are National Lottery players and the good causes they support by playing it. "The way the National Lottery is organised means it is difficult for people to work out where their money is going," she said.

She said progress had been made by the National Lotteries Promotions Unit, but there was still a long way to go."Only 42 per cent of people are aware of even one local programme funded by the National Lottery," she said.

"There has to be a way that we can work together to turn this marketing negative into a marketing positive."

Talking about the expected consultation on society lotteries, she said her company would propose returning to the historical position before the Gambling Act 2005, when there was a limit of 15 per cent that larger society lotteries could allocate to cost and profit.

Camelot’s costs and profits were 5 per cent, she said, including less than 1 per cent profit. "We believe this would protect the National Lottery without damaging small society lotteries," she said.

The 2005 act introduced the 80/20 rule, which says that society lotteries must give at least 20 per cent of their proceeds to good causes.

Thompson also reiterated Camelot’s concerns about the impact of The Health Lottery, which gives 20 per cent of its ticket price to good causes compared with 28 per cent by the National Lottery.

She called for tighter regulation to prevent other companies setting up similar operations to The Health Lottery, an umbrella scheme of consisting of 51 individual society lotteries.

She said her problem was not with The Health Lottery in itself, but the precedent it set."Four or five of that type would do tremendous damage," she said. "It is a real threat to good causes."

"Parliament deliberately set up the National Lottery as a monopoly and voted for that model because it is the way to maximise returns to good causes."

A spokeswoman for Northern & Shell, which runs the Health Lottery, said the company wanted to congratulate Camelot on "18 years of incredible achievement".

"What we achieve through The Health Lottery, by helping to raise money for hundreds of small community health projects, is very different," she said.

Andy Ricketts

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