Camelot fined £100k over jackpot cockup; Free Postcode Lottery intended as “two fingers up” to gambling biz

TAGs: Camelot, Camelot Global Services, free postcode lottery, Lottery, national lottery, postcode lottery

camelot-free-postcode-lotteryThe UK Gambling Commission has fined National Lottery operator Camelot £100k after the company incorrectly calculated a jackpot prize amount last October. The incident saw Camelot publicize a rolled-over National Lottery jackpot as being worth £6.2m and the three eventual winners of said jackpot were told they’d each collect £2.1m. But after checking its figures again, Camelot revised the jackpot total to £4.8m, cutting each individual prize down to £1.6m.

The Commission said the cockup had contravened the terms of Camelot’s license, which require it to be able to count to 20 without removing its socks. Camelot, which fully copped to its mathematical difficulties at the time, has accepted the fine without complaint. Camelot has also been ordered to undergo an independent review of the “extremely serious matter” to ensure no future occurrences arise.

This week saw Alex Kovach step down as managing director of Camelot Global Services, the lottery firm’s international division. The exit precedes a split Camelot is preparing to undergo in October, which will see the international business spun off into an independent entity headed up by its current finance director Nigel Rallton. Camelot UK managing director Andy Duncan will continue to run the firm’s domestic operations. Camelot is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which paid £389m for the firm in 2010.

The Evening Standard recently reported on an enterprising Londoner who launched his own version of a Postcode Lottery, with the notable exception that it costs nothing to play. Chris Holbrook launched his personal online lotto in 2011, offering players the chance to win a daily jackpot of £10. That has since grown to £50 and Holbrook says a winning postcode is drawn on average every three days, making the average payout around £150.

The site is funded entirely by advertising and Holbrook says he’ll personally earn between £50k and £100k this year from its operation. Holbrook says he started the lottery simply to see if he could get the technology to work but he continues because he is “almost accidentally making people happy.” Holbrook says he’s never bought a lottery ticket in his life and somewhat perversely views his online endeavor as a “two fingers up to the gambling industry.” Wonder how Nova Media’s lawyers feel about that…

The dark side of lotteries was on full display in Mauritius this week, following news that a local man had committed suicide after he forgot to play his regular numbers that went on to win. Island Crisis reported that the unnamed man was part of a group of six co-workers that had been playing the same numbers for seven years. The man forgot to make it to the lottery office this month and when the group’s numbers were drawn, some of the other members of the group irate.

Despite the fact that the jackpot was only Rs 100k (US $3,200) split six ways, the man was reportedly so consumed with guilt over his forgetfulness that he drank a lethal amount of herbicide. He was found unconscious on Tuesday and rushed to the hospital where he died, but not before telling police why he’d done such a foolish thing.


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of