Fundraising: Lottery rival 'will be fairer to charity and the public'

A weekly lottery set up to sell tickets on behalf of charities is aiming to become the main competitor to the National Lottery when it launches next month.

Chariot, which is led by former head of Camelot Tim Holley, aims to provide a greater return to charities than the National Lottery and will allow players to choose the charity that will profit. He says players, who will enter mainly on the internet, but also through the phone and by post, will benefit from better odds and prizes for matching fewer numbers.

It is hoped that the Chariot lottery will raise as much as £150m a year for a total of 70 different charities, making it one of the largest charitable fundraisers in the UK.

A rotation system will allow five charities to benefit from the lottery each week, and nominated charities will receive 30p from every £1 spent on tickets.

Following its admission to the Alternative Investment Market this month, Chariot started selling shares to fund the lottery's working capital requirements and the promotion costs for the launch.

So far, 68 charities have registered. These include the Brain & Spine Foundation, Barnardo's, the RNID, Shelter and the Talking Newspaper Association.

Last Wednesday, the charities attended a meeting at which the partners pooled ideas on promoting the project. They will be encouraged to market the lottery online, leverage interest through their own PR strategies and get corporate supporters and celebrities involved.

The holding company will continue to be called Chariot, but the lottery's name will be announced later this month.

Andrew Williams, marketing director at Chariot, said the charities chosen were the "most enthusiastic" about the lottery.

Williams said that, if it was successful, the lottery could be expanded to include other UK registered charities, either through another weekly draw or by creating other games.

"We are trying to create a fairer lottery, responding to both the public and charities," he said.

"Charities are crying out for additional funding, particularly unrestricted funding such as this that keeps them alive and allows them to be more responsive when crises occur."

Alan Gosschalk, director of fundraising at Shelter, welcomed the lottery.

"It is a source of income that could be very significant for charities," he said.

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