NCVO loses thousands in BingoLotto flop

Umbrella body sank cash into lawyers, project management fees and lottery registration costs

The NCVO stands to lose £100,000 through its involvement in the failed Ulrika Jonsson-hosted TV show BingoLotto after the company that ran it went into administration.

BingoLotto, which was broadcast on digital channel Virgin1, closed this month after four weeks because of poor ticket sales.

The website for BingoLotto has been replaced with a message saying that Intelligent Gaming Solutions, the company with Swedish backers that established the game, went into administration on 8 October.

IGS had agreed to give 20 per cent of sales from gamecards to the umbrella body, which pledged to distribute funds among its members.

Richard Williams, director of enterprise at the NCVO, said most of the £100,000 that NCVO's trustee board agreed to invest had been spent on lawyers, project management fees and lottery registration fees.

"All the indications were that it could and should have worked," he said. But the relatively modest £100,000 jackpot and the competitive lottery environment in the UK might have contributed to its demise, he said.

IGS had hoped to sell 300,000 gamecards in the first four weeks. Williams estimated that the actual total was 20 per cent of this. Now the NCVO must wait with other IGS creditors to see whether any money can be retrieved.

Williams said the NCVO would look carefully at getting involved in similar ventures and would be wary of "over-ambitious targets".

He said two or three NCVO trustees had expressed concerns about investing in a gambling company. "But the majority of the board agreed we should go forward because the opportunity was big for a very modest investment," he said.


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