As predicted [WAMN: 18-Dec-00], the battle to run Britain's National Lottery for a second seven-year term has been won by incumbent Camelot. Sharing the champagne is Camelot’s ad agency, Havas-owned WCRS.

Meanwhile, in the loser’s corner, high profile entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is brooding over the failure of his People’s Lottery to score for the second time of trying. There are dark mutterings from Branson’s bunker of legal action against the National Lottery Commission, in whose gift the lottery contract lies.

Sharing Sir Richard’s bitter cup is WPP’s J Walter Thompson, one of the vaunted ‘best of breed’ suppliers poised to swing into action had the bid succeeded.

Meantime, flushed with the euphoria of victory, Camelot announced a joint venture with Britain's largest indigenous ISP, FreeServe. The duo will develop technology enabling the secure online purchase of lottery tickets online, while Freeserve will create a co-branded National Lottery website. Initially the ISP will be the sole portal selling lottery tickets via the web, although the facility may be opened up to others at a later date.

News sources: Financial Times / The Times (London)