Bedfordshire retailer Virendra Aghera send us this letter after Camelot stripped his stores of their National Lottery terminals:
Camelot have informed me this morning that they want to remove their lottery terminals from my shops.
I’m a newsagent, and have two stores in Bedfordshire – one a CTN in Potton, and the other a convenience store in Gamlingay.
I’ve had a Lottery terminal in my store for around 11 years. I got it in my second store one year ago.
In all that time, we’ve traded well. We make around £3,000 per week from it. But now, after our first mistake in more than a decade, we have been told that our terminal is being removed.
There are five terminals in the town the store is in, and we are one of the most profitable.
My wife made a mistake in paying out some prize money. A gentleman had won £130, but unfortunately my wife only paid him £25.
When the man realised the mistake and came back in to the shop, we couldn’t sort it out as we weren’t sure that he had won what he was claiming. So he went directly to Camelot.
Camelot suspended our terminals – in both stores – for one month following this. We thought that we might get a written warning and tell us that we might be in trouble if it happened again.
We were shocked and upset when we got a letter this morning saying that they were going to remove the terminals in both stores.
We admitted to Camelot that a mistake happened, so there was no dispute, so for this to be the outcome is very upsetting.
People should know what Camelot are really like.
VIRENDRA AGHERA, Cameron’s Newsagent, Potton, Bedfordshire
A Camelot spokesperson responded:
We can confirm that, following the suspension of a National Lottery retailer in the Bedfordshire area and subsequent thorough internal investigation – including detailed analysis of all transactions on the lottery terminal for the day in question – we have taken the decision to terminate their right to sell National Lottery products. The retailer has the right to appeal against our decision but, as yet, no such appeal has been received.
Payment of National Lottery prizes is very straightforward. The lottery terminal makes a distinctive sound when a winning ticket is scanned and full instructions, including the exact amount to be paid, are then displayed on the terminal screen for the retailer to follow. Where the prize is over £100, as in this case, the retailer is required to confirm on the lottery terminal that they can pay the prize. The terminal also prints a ‘win receipt’ that the retailer must give to the player and this confirms how much the player has won. If, for any reason, a retailer is unsure whether they’ve paid out the correct prize, they can easily locate the relevant transaction on the lottery terminal to double-check or they can call our dedicated, free Retailer Hotline for on-the-spot advice. Given all of these measures to ensure retailers pay players their prizes in full and given that the terminal was working normally with no faults reported, there is no reason why the correct prize should not have been paid in this case. The success of The National Lottery depends on public trust – we would be failing in our duty as operator if we were to allow that trust to be undermined in any way.