THE POST OFFICE is considering taking a stake of up to 20% in National Lottery operator Camelot. In return, the PO would use its best endeavours to ensure that Camelot retains its highly lucrative lottery franchise for a second seven-year term. No decision will be made on the stake before the Government announces the terms of the next lottery franchise, which runs from November 2001. The new rules are expected to be unveiled shortly and the announcement of the successful franchisee is due next year. The Post Office is already the nation’s largest vendor of lottery tickets, and its increased involvement would not be good news for other lottery wannabes, not least Richard Branson who says he would run the franchise on a ‘not for profit’ basis [intentionally!].