Sunday, 17 June 2012

Are Camelot dim, dysfunctional, liars or just plain greedy?

There can be no denying that UK lottery operators Camelot are on to a good thing. Especially the overpaid management.

They have been reaping the benefits of the franchise for years now - a franchise that in essence, has been licenced by the government to print money.

However, I can't quite make up my mind whether the management of the Lotto are dim, dysfunctional, liars or just plain greedy, although the cynic in me answers the question when I consider the chief Executive of Camelot was complaining last year that the annual bonus on her not inconsiderable 7-figure salary had been reduced (conveniently forgetting her 18 year sojourn to date at Camelot has produced a pension we mere mortals can only dream about. How about the poor soldiers, CEO Dianne Thompson, who come back from the far-east minus a leg and have to legally fight for compensation that doesn't even touch what you earn less than a month? And they don't receive CBE's for their troubles either!).

Irrespective of the glitzy marketing spend, the stupid advertisements for scratchcards, the big hoo-ha about rollovers (the lottery only rolls over so regularly because the odds of winning are so abysmal - 1 in 13,983,816 for the main lotto 6-number draw and a 1 in 56.7 chance of winning 3 numbers, or a £10; 1 in 116,531,800 of winning the Euro Lotto, with a 1 in 22 chance of winning the lowest draw or a £2.20/£2.90 prize [meaning you have a better chance of picking the winning horse from a 22-horse race - with a bigger prize than the £2.20/2.90 on offer from Camelot!]), people will always have a couple of quid for a lottery ticket as an impulse purchase. Multiply that by several million purchases  for each day of the major lottery draws (and of course the intermediate extras and scratchcards), and we are talking huge bucks per week.

All for precious little effort on Camelot's part - apart form coming up with new ways of parting the public from their cash.

No, where I wonder about the dim, dysfunctional, liars or just plain greedy aspect refers to our local newsagent in suburban Leeds. He has been awaiting a decision from Camelot on a lottery terminal for over 4 years (the previous owner had a terminal), constantly being put off by them. Their regular excuse is not enough machines to go around, despite there being 14 new shops I can think of in Leeds that have received terminals in the past year.

They also said that his location, about a half mile from another terminal, didn't justify obtaining one.

Now, one of the suburban business-destroying Tesco Metro's opened up on the same parade (ok, separated by a minor t-junction, but we are talking rural suburbs here) some 100m from the existing Lotto newsagent. The Tesco opened with a Lotto terminal! Despite Camelot telling the newsagent half-a-mile away that he was too near.

So half a mile is too near, yet 100 metres isn't?

I wrote to Camelot and they stonewalled me with the usual "we check our potential terminal installations in relation to existing ones to ensure  blah blah blah." And "they don't favour any business over another".

Oh yes?

That's not what the two local and struggling shopkeepers think in relation to Tesco!

Camelot didn't answer my question, because obviously they couldn't. And as I said, I'm at a loss as to whether they are dim, dysfunctional, liars or just plain greedy. Perhaps they could answer!

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