CAMELOT'S LOTTERY FINE IS INTRIGUING (Update)
Is a cover up in progress?
In the wake of the announcement by the Gambling Commission that it has slapped a GBP 3 million fine on National Lottery operator Camelot in respect of inefficient processes in paying out a fraudulent ticket seven years ago, the UK media have been trying to get to grips with the detail behind the rather bland official statements…and the affair has become all the more intriguing.
It appears that an unidentified 51-year-old man from Hertfordshire was involved in a successful and allegedly fraudulent prize claim, yet despite being arrested and the subject of an intense police investigation he was not charged and was subsequently released.
That suggests that there was insufficient evidence to take him before the courts.
Andy Duncan, chief executive of Camelot, explained to reporters how the GBP 2.5 million prize was paid out despite the fraudulent nature of the transaction. He revealed that the claimant had sent in a ticket through Camelot's damaged tickets prize process, which lets owners of damaged tickets check whether they are winners.
The ticket apparently went through the Camelot process and it "looked like that was a reasonable decision (to pay the claimant) to take based on the evidence available."
In October 2015 the operator became aware of un detailed new information from an unidentified source which "cast some doubt on that original decision."
The Hertfordshire police, who investigated the incident, said:
"An allegation of fraud connected to a lottery win from 2009 was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist cyber and financial investigation unit, working with the Gambling Commission. As part of the investigation, a man was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation. Following a thorough investigation, the man was released with no further action to be taken against him."
It also appears unlikely that the money will be recovered; Duncan commented:
"If it was possible to recover that money in due course, that's something we would look into. Whether we can get the money back is open to question."
The lack of detail poses more questions than answers, and led to questions in the House of Commons this week.