Camelot overestimated adverse impact of Health Lottery, High Court hears

The National Lottery operator has made an application for a judicial review of the Gambling Commission's decision to award licences to the Health Lottery

Health Lottery
Health Lottery

The National Lottery operator Camelot hugely overestimated the adverse impact of the Health Lottery on its ticket sales, the High Court heard on Friday.

Camelot had claimed in March it was losing up to £1m every week in sales since the Health Lottery launched. It applied for a judicial review of the Gambling Commission’s decision to award licences to the 51 community interest companies that make up the Health Lottery because it believed the Health Lottery is attempting to commercialise society lotteries in a way that breaks both the spirit and letter of the law. 

On the final day of the judicial review hearing last week, Thomas Sharpe QC, representing the Health Lottery, said an independent report by Nera Economic Consulting, commissioned by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, showed any impact on National Lottery sales was closer to £300,000 a week.

Sharpe told the court that the Health Lottery was currently running at a loss after spending more than £29m to get the operation up and running.

He said the owners, Richard Desmond’s media group Northern & Shell, had only made the investment because the Gambling Commission had decided to grant it licences and that Camelot should have challenged the decision at the time.

Sharpe warned that if judges revoked the licences, it would be detrimental to the good causes the Health Lottery supports.

A Health Lottery spokesman said after the hearing: "The impact assessment found that any affect on Camelot was immaterial or up to a maximum of £300,000. The Health Lottery is still making a loss for its owners, but we have raised more than £20m so far for health-related good causes."

A DCMS spokesman said the Nera impact assessment would be published on its website shortly.

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