The news that the Gambling Commission has fined Camelot £3 million for serious breaches of its operating licence is deeply shocking. Camelot paid out £2.5 million for what it now believes was a fraudulent claim - I've called it "the great lotto robbery". Thousands of organisations rely on money from the National Lottery and the millions of people who play it have the right to expect that the rules of the game are fair.
So today I've written to Culture Secretary Karen Bradley asking her ten questions we need answers to. Here they are:
1. When were Ministers informed of the allegedly fraudulent National Lottery prize claim for which the Gambling Commission has imposed a financial penalty of £3 million on Camelot?
2. What action did Ministers take when they were made aware?
3. The Gambling Commission found that Camelot was in breach of its Licence requirement “to ensure that all Processes and Procedures are Fit for Purpose”. Are Ministers satisfied that the National Lottery is Fit for Purpose? What measures have they taken to satisfy themselves of this?
4. Are Ministers satisfied that Camelot adhere to all their statutory obligations? What measures have they taken to satisfy themselves of this?
5. Given the public interest in this case, what action are Ministers taking to ensure that Camelot's records in relation to its decision to pay out on the fraudulent claim, and any correspondence with the recipient of the payment, are made public?
6. Why did the police not announce that they were investigating an alleged multi-million pound robbery at the National Lottery?
7. According to Camelot, the police decided earlier this year to take no further action in relation to this case. Why?
8. What civil action is underway to recover any money paid out as a result of fraud?
9. Who in Camelot authorised the payment on the allegedly fraudulent claim? What disciplinary action, if any, was taken, and is that person still employed by Camelot?
10. Given the seriousness of this breach, will Ministers now review the terms of Camelot's licence?
I am looking forward to hearing back from the Minister, and will let you know when I do.