Out of this world: Camelot sets up record £250m jackpots


Out of this world: Camelot sets up record £250m jackpots

Out of this world: Camelot sets up record £250m jackpots




{mosimage} IT could be huge. Camelot, the company that runs the national lottery, has signed a deal with operators in America to launch the world’s biggest draw, with mega-jackpots of more than £250m.

The new global lottery game is likely to offer double the prize money available at present through the nine-country EuroMillions draw and could start as early as 2011.

Camelot is understood to have signed an “exploratory agreement” with the US consortium behind the hugely successful Powerball game. It combines 32 lotteries across American states and in 2006 it paid out £210m, the biggest lottery jackpot to date anywhere in the world.

“Powerball is the only thing that comes anywhere near challenging EuroMillions,” said a lottery insider. “So by combining the two the sky’s the limit [for jackpots].”

Camelot has been approached by lottery operators in almost 50 countries, but if regulatory hurdles can be overcome, Powerball is likely to be a launch partner and is crucial to the new game’s success.

The World Game is expected to involve a weekly draw and will be played across time zones - “following the sun as it rises in the east until it sets in west” - according to one source. It will be designed in such a way that the jackpot will roll over many times, boosting the size of the eventual prize.

Tickets for the game are likely to cost more than £1.50 - the current price of a flutter on the EuroMillions draw. Tickets for the national lottery cost £1 at the moment.

The money raised for good causes will remain in the countries where the tickets were bought. Camelot is also considering a separate annual world draw.

The World Game formed the centrepiece of the company’s successful bid to run the national lottery for another 10 years, starting from today.

Camelot, which is headed by Dianne Thompson, has won three licences in a row since the lottery began in 1994, leading some critics to complain that it enjoys a monopoly. The firm, which to date has raised £22 billion for good causes, was granted the new licence in 2007 after beating Sugal and Dama-ni, an Indian lottery operator.

Camelot had promised to overhaul lottery terminals around the country as part of its bid and will be carrying out a software upgrade today, preventing people buying tickets.

In 2004 Camelot launched the EuroMillions draw which is now played in France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Luxemberg, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal, as well as in Britain.

The biggest EuroMillions payout came in February 2006 after the jackpot had rolled over 11 times. The £125m prize was shared by three winning tickets, two in France and one in Portugal.

A spokesman for the national lottery said: “Discussions with potential partners around the world are continuing at a pace.”

Big winners

The biggest lottery payout on a single ticket was $365m, won by eight factory workers from Nebraska in 2006

Andrew Whittaker, from West Virginia, scooped $315m in 2002 - still the largest individual claim

The UK’s biggest winner is Angela Kelly, of East Kilbride, who won £35m in 2007. She continued to live in her former council home



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