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National Lottery (United Kingdom and the Isle of Man)

By on July 31, 2014

The National Lottery is the state-franchised national lottery in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.

It is operated by Camelot Group, to whom the license was granted in 1994, 2001 and again in 2007. The lottery is regulated by the National Lottery Commission, and was established by the government of John Major in 1994.

All prizes are paid as a lump sum and are tax-free. Of all money spent on National Lottery games, 50% goes to the prize fund, 28% to ‘good causes’ as set out by Parliament (though some of this is considered by some to be a form of ‘stealth tax’ levied to support the Big Lottery Fund, a fund constituted to support public spending), 12% to the UK Government as duty, 5% to retailers as commission, and a total of 5% to operator Camelot, with 4.5% to cover operating costs and 0.5% as profit. Lottery tickets and scratch cards may be bought only by people of at least 16 years of age.

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A statute of 1698 provided that in England lotteries were by default illegal unless specifically authorized by statute. A 1934 Act, further liberalized in 1956 and 1976, legalized small lotteries. The UK’s state-franchised lottery was set up under government license by the government of John Major in 1993.The National Lottery is franchised to a private operator; the Camelot Group was awarded the franchise on 25 May 1994. The first draw took place on 19 November 1994 with a television programme presented by Noel Edmonds. The first numbers drawn were 30, 3, 5, 44, 14 and 22, the bonus was 10, and seven jackpot winners shared a prize of £5,874,778.

Tickets became available on the Isle of Man on 2 December 1999 at the request of Tynwald.

The National Lottery undertook a major rebranding programme in 2002 designed to combat falling sales. The main game was renamed Lotto, and the National Lottery Extra became Lotto Extra. The stylized crossed-fingers logo was modified. However, the games as a collective are still known as the National Lottery. It is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the United Kingdom.

In November 2009 Camelot replaced its older Lotto draw machines. The new machines are named Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Merlin, reusing the names of older machines. At the same time, new machines for the Thunderball game were introduced. The new Lotto machines are the Magnum II model, manufactured by Smartplay International Inc., and the new Thunderball machines are the Smartplay Halogen II model.

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