HC Deb 11 July 1994 vol 246 cc657-8
14. Mr. O'Hara

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he now expects the first tickets for the national lottery to be sold.

Mr. Brooke

The Director-General of the National Lottery announced on 25 May that he had selected the Camelot Group plc to run the national lottery. I understand that Camelot will launch the national lottery with an on-line lotto game in November 1994. The date when tickets will go on sale has not been decided.

Mr. O'Hara

Is the Secretary of State aware that, according to a recent report in the Financial Times, part of the Camelot consortium, named G-Tech, is considering using the UK lottery network in a bid for a national benefits distribution contract? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that, in a letter to my hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Ms Mowlam), the Director-General of Oflot confessed that he had not known of that interest of G-Tech until he read about it in the press? Will the Secretary of State give the House an undertaking now that he will not allow Camelot or any part of it to make such use of the UK lottery network?

Mr. Brooke

That question is probably as much for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services as for me. I did see the report, and it is a subject on which I have already asked questions.

Mr. Robert Banks

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the operation of the national lottery will have an effect on pools companies? Will he carefully examine ways in which we could level up the marketing activities of pools companies with those of the national lottery, bearing in mind the excellent work done by the Football Trust? Will my right hon. Friend investigate that matter, so that a decision on advertising and other factors will be based on a level playing field?

Mr. Brooke

The levelling up that my hon. Friend described was widely discussed when the National Lottery etc. Bill went through the House, and a series of concessions were made to pools companies at that stage—sufficient to secure all-party support when the Bill received its Third Reading. The matter has already been widely considered, but I notice that it has re-emerged.