- Newspaper owner reportedly planning bid for National Lottery franchise
- Desmond own the Daily Express and Sunday Express and currently runs the Health Lottery
Newspaper owner Richard Desmond, is planning a bid for the UK’s National Lottery franchise when it is up for renewal in 2019, according to reports.
The Financial Times claims that Desmond, who owns newspapers the Daily Express and the Sunday Express, and currently runs the Health Lottery, is planning to make a bid for the franchise, which is currently run by Camelot.
Camelot has held the franchise since it was created in 1994, and successfully saw off a bid by the Virgin Group of Sir Richard Branson in 2000. They obtained a four-year extension to their current contract in 2012 and have the right to run the Lottery until 2023, but the renewal process is set to begin in 2019.
Since 2011, Desmond has run the Health Lottery, which functions as a group of local society lotteries to raise money for causes related to health. In 2012, Camelot went to the High Court to have the Health Lottery’s licence revoked, but failed to win their case. Camelot itself is owned by one of Canada’s largest pension funds, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
According to Martin Ellice, who is joint managing director of Desmond’s company Northern and Shell, they were now in the lottery business. Paul Ashford, the company’s editorial director claimed that the British people would welcome a British company running the lottery.
Desmond has been selling off some of his assets in recent years, disposing of Channel 5 to MTV and Nickelodeon owner Viacom, for £450m three years ago and it has been reported that he is in negotiations to sell his newspapers to the Mirror Group.
Camelot, which says that it gives 95 percent of ticket sale revenue to winners, good causes and the UK Treasury, has previously argued against competition in the lottery sector.
Earlier in the year, it was reported that the company had launched a strategic review following a fall of nearly nine percent in ticket sales. Since its launch, the National Lottery has paid out over £63 billion in prize money.
Want to try an online casino?
Choose an approved casino from our carefully selected list. VIEW CASINOS