Lotto price hike is not the ticket
There has been a furious reaction to Camelot's decision to double the price of Lotto tickets from £1 to £2, and with good reason. Leicester deputy mayor Rory Palmer has branded the increase – which is set to happen in the autumn – as "cynical" and says it "penalises ordinary people who enjoy a weekly flutter" (see story on P20).
Camelot has defended the decision saying that the changes follow extensive research with players and are aimed at rejuvenating the lottery with bigger prizes. These include £25 for matching three numbers and larger jackpots.
The price rise is the first since the launch of the National Lottery in 1994.
If it had gone up with inflation since that time the cost of a ticket would now be £1.68 – so the increase to £2 is a real terms one.
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One of the main criticisms of this price hike is that it penalises people on low incomes who may see the lottery as a big opportunity to improve their lives.
Many of these people may have used the same numbers for years and will desperately want to continue to do so.
That will leave them with the feeling that they have no choice but to fork out extra money they can ill afford.
The other side of the argument is that the lottery is optional.
It is up to people whether or not they want to take part.
Nobody is making them do so and they are adults who are entirely capable of making their own decisions.
Our concern is not only the level of the increase but the fact that this comes at a particularly difficult time for people because of the state of the economy.
Incomes are increasingly being squeezed by pay freezes, unemployment and rising bills.
That means Lotto players will either continue to play the game, potentially facing greater hardship as a result, or stop doing so, with possibly serious consequences for the good causes which the lottery supports.
Neither of these outcomes is desirable and it might be a good idea if Camelot reviews its decision, particularly in light of the public backlash which is taking place.