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UK National Lottery Diary

This document contains all the significant dates and events in the history of the UK National Lottery. Some of the information is taken from Camelot's Reports and Accounts and the rest is gleaned from the UK media. Any additions or corrections to the information should be e-mailed to "webmaster@lottery.merseyworld.com".

Friday 30th November 2001
Camelot's section 5 lottery licence expires on this date - it was extended by two months on Thursday 19th October 2000 in order to avoid the lottery "running out of time" due to bidding process delays.

Saturday 23rd September 2000
The People's Lottery group have until this date to convince the National Lottery Commission that they are fit to run the UK National Lottery for 7 years, starting from Monday 1st October 2001. It's not yet clear what will happen if the People's Lottery group don't get the lottery licence - there will be consultation between the Commission and the UK government to decide how to keep the lottery running beyond September 2001 if this happens (e.g. maybe Camelot will have to "hand over" their operation to someone ? Just speculation there...).

Wednesday 23rd August 2000
There is no winner yet of the next lottery licence (starting on 1st October 2001), but Camelot are definitely out of the bidding now (their GTech associations caused their downfall). The People's Lottery group are holding exclusive talks with the National Lottery Commission (to iron out ways to properly protect players apparently) and may still have a chance of winning the licence by 23rd September. It's claimed that Camelot may appeal the National Lottery Commission's decision to reject their bid.

The People's Lottery group comprises of partners Sir Richard Branson, Microsoft, J. Walter Thompson, Kellogg, AWI, KPMG Consulting and Cisco Systems and if they do eventually win, they will switch the main UK lottery to a 6 from 53 game. This would raise the jackpot odds to 22,957,480 to 1, making it 64% less likely to be won than the current UK lottery.

June 2000
Camelot hosted the largest-ever lottery conference, the World Lottery Association 2000, in Glasgow this month. Between 1,500 and 2,000 worldwide lottery representatives attended and there were approximately 85 exhibitors.

Monday 8th May 2000 to Saturday 13th May 2000
Every 80th main lottery (not Thunderball) ticket sold between these dates will result in a free Lucky Dip Thunderball ticket for the purchaser, which was valid for the Saturday 13th May draw. The allowed maximum of one million free tickets were given away in the promotion.

Saturday 29th April 2000
Camelot had to shut down approximately 600 lottery terminals today around the country due to flooding. It was reckoned that 20% of the Scottish lottery terminal network was unavailable today.

April 2000
Camelot published the results of their "Social and Ethical Audit".

Thursday 10th February 2000-Wednesday 1st March 2000
In what looked like a move to combat disappointingly low ticket sales, Camelot launched an "Extra" offer of discounts - buy two types of Camelot product and get to collect up for discounts on flights, restaurants, bowling, fashion, swimming, hotels or days out.

Wednesday 12th January 2000
The first ever Wednesday double rollover draw took place tonight, with record Wednesday ticket sales of £64,102,613. Nine lucky jackpot-winning tickets garnered £3,394,909 each.

Saturday 8th January 2000
For the first time ever thanks to a change in Camelot's lottery rules, there was a "true" rollover Super Draw tonight where the rollover jackpot amount from Wednesday draw was added to the Super Draw amount (to total £23,313,361) rather than being absorbed into the original Super Draw figure of £20m. To add even more spice to the proceedings, the jackpot wasn't won this evening !

Wednesday 5th January 2000
Camelot's official site restored the "Y2K-fixed" Number Search page only for it to no longer work without JavaScript and also to completely fail in any Netscape (3.04 or 4.7 for example) even with JavaScript turned on.

Tuesday 4th January 2000
Camelot's official site finally pull the Y2K-bugged Number Search page that had been faulty for 4 days, leaving a full day where no-one could check their numbers on the official site.

Saturday 1st January 2000
The second of two special draws that comprise the Big Draw 2000 took place 12 minutes late (same delay as Game 1) and there was much confusion about when and where the balls emerged from. Note that there were indeed three draws today (the Saturday main and Thunderball lottery draws took place as usual in the evening), which was a record of course. Camelot took the unusual decision to close their lottery telephone lines between 11.00pm GMT last night and 9.00am GMT this morning.

Camelot's official Web site used a JavaScript-triggered separate window for the Big Draw 2000 results, which meant you couldn't see any results if you turned off JavaScript ! They also used 2 digits for the year in their Number Search page, meaning that users couldn't search a date range involving the year 2000.

Friday 31st December 1999
The first of two special draws that comprise the Big Draw 2000 took place tonight, but it was 12 minutes late, the machine got stuck in the middle of a split video wall and Alan Dedicoat initially read out the wrong fourth ball (but corrected himself).

Wednesday 29th December 1999
Between the evening of 24th and the afternoon of the 30th December, the official lottery site's results pages had no information at all about the winning numbers (or prize amounts) of either the 24th or 29th December draws. Looks like maintainers went home for Christmas and forget about updating the site !

Friday 24th December 1999
Camelot shifted the Christmas Day draw forward 24 hours to today instead. Apparently, Christmas Day is the only day of the year when the lottery network is shut down (on the possibly dubious assumption that no lottery retailers will open on Christmas Day). This is, of course, the first time ever that a UK National Lottery draw will have taken place on a Friday, although you have to wonder why the 1st January 2000 draw wasn't moved forward a day as well...

Thursday 23rd December 1999
For the entire day, the official National Lottery site was claiming that the next draw was on Saturday 25th December 1999 - a rather embarrassing error that wasn't corrected until the day of the draw (Christmas Eve of course) itself.

Thursday 2nd December 1999
60,000 people in the Isle of Man will finally have UK lottery terminals on the island - the first time for over 5 years of the game !

Saturday 20th November 1999
There will be a £20 million Super Draw today to celebrate the 5th anniversary (er, which was yesterday) of the first lottery draw.

Sunday 14th November 1999
It's the 5th anniversary today of the first tickets going on sale.

Monday 1st November 1999
Tickets for the Big Draw 2000 went on sale today at £5 each. There are two games involving years and the two draws take place on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Wednesday 22nd September 1999
Millennium Done tickets go on sale at all on-line lottery retailers, though initial sales are disappointing.

Saturdays in September 1999
Showing what might be interpreted as signs of desperation about falling main lottery ticket sales, Camelot have four guaranteed £10m jackpot Super Draws every Saturday (4th, 11th, 18th and 25th) this month.

Wednesday 25th August 1999
The lottery TV show was delayed about five minutes as the BBC decided to hang onto their live coverage of the World Athletics Championships (Jonathan Edwards failed to win gold in the triple jump, so it was hardly worth the lottery show being delayed to see a sorry performance!).

Monday 16th August 1999
National Lottery retailers convicted of selling or distributing smuggled alcohol or tobacco will now lose their lottery terminal automatically.

Friday 13th August 1999-Saturday 28th August 1999
Camelot launched a brief 16-day Winning Wallets campaign in a rather desperate bid to boost ticket sales - buy a main lottery ticket (not Thunderball) and an Instants scratchcard at the same time and get a "Winning Wallet", though the majority of the "prizes" are £50 off vouchers for expensive holidays (there are things like cars on offer though).

Friday 6th August 1999
The Post Office announces that it will jointly bid with Camelot for the next UK lottery licence. If the bid is successful, it will acquire a 20% stake in the Camelot consortium.

Friday 9th July 1999
Camelot International has a 10% share in Uthingo, which was announced as the preferred bidder to run the South African National Lottery. Camelot was also awarded a licence today to hold the Big Draw 2000 event, which should create about 25 millionaires.

Saturday 26th June 1999
A huge sigh of relief no doubt went around Camelot's headquarters tonight as, as the third time of asking, there was a single winner of the £250,000 Thunderball jackpot prize. Unfortunately, the sensational and unique event of having a bigger 5+bonus prize than the jackpot prize in tonight's main lottery rather overshadowed things.

Saturday 19th June 1999
A bad ticket sales week for Camelot this one - Thunderball down >8%, main Saturday draw down >11% and the Wednesday draw down >2%. It was made even worse by, yep, another week where the Thunderball jackpot wasn't won.

Saturday 12th June 1999
The first ever Thunderball draw took place tonight as part of a Talking Telephone Numbers rip-off lottery show subtitled Winning Lines. Unfortunately, bad timing meant that it was overshadowed by the main UK lottery Saturday draw's rollover jackpot that was 50 times bigger than the Thunderball's ! It also didn't help that the first Thunderball jackpot wasn't even won either...

Monday 7th June 1999
Camelot launched a third UK lottery weekly draw called Thunderball today with expected weekly ticket sales of only £4m (i.e. far less popular than the main two UK lottery draws). Tickets cost £1 each and there will be 5 balls (1-34) and a Thunderball (1-14) drawn just before the Saturday night main draw. The jackpot will be £250,000 (278,256 to 1 chance of winning) plus a range of smaller prizes (eight prize tiers in all).

Sunday 23rd May 1999
Camelot announces £6m sponsorship of Millennium Dome activities, including being the official Dome ticket distributor, sponsoring the Dome's Shared Ground zone and supporting the Citizen's Connection project.

Saturday 8th May 1999
Vernons scrapped their flop soccer lottery game Easy Play on this date after ticket sales divebombed spectacularly since its launch last August.

Saturday 1st May 1999
Camelot sent 14,000 lottery tickets to Kosovo for the troops to play in today's £20 million Super Draw.

Friday 16th April 1999
Operation Child was launched today - yet another campaign to prevent under-age sales of lottery tickets. 15,000 undercover visits will take place between now and September 2001 using actors aged over 16, but who look younger. Figures so far indicate that almost one third of retailers are still selling to such young-looking people !

Thursday 1st April 1999
The National Lottery Commission was formed today.

Saturday 20th March 1999
The lottery TV show had its first ever streaker tonight. The host, Brian Conley, went off camera just as the draw was about to start in an attempt to intercept the person. Sadly, TV viewers only saw the head of the streaker...

Saturday 27th February 1999
The UK lottery TV show announced that was no jackpot winner at the end of the TV show itself. This was the first time in the 4 years and 4 months history of the show that they'd done this !

Thursday 28th January 1999
Camelot begin their "Social and Ethical Audit".

Saturday 16th January 1999
£10 billion pounds in prizes have now been awarded by the UK National Lottery.

Wednesday 11th November 1998
The aunt, Majorie Longdin, of the leader of the Conservative Party William Hague won one of today's £856,548 jackpots.

November 1998
Bored of their slightly doubting "It Could Be You" lottery slogan, Camelot changed their advertising campaigns to use the even less affirmative phrase "Maybe, Just Maybe". Meanwhile, retailers had reached the £1 billion mark in commission (they get 5% on sales, plus 1% of every prize they pay out over £10 and below £200 [i.e. 4-match prizes]).

Saturday 17th October 1998
The official Vernons Easy Play Web site finally launched a full design today (a mere 10 weeks late), but it was disappointing. A bright blue background that hurts the eyes, non-transparent GIFs and - worst of all - the latest Vernons Easy Play results aren't on the home page...a poor design "trick" picked up from Camelot's official site no doubt.

Saturday 26th September 1998
For the first time ever, Camelot's original phone number (0645 100 000) failed to answer when dialled - it just rang and rang without any response. The newer 0845 9100 000 number was OK though. It's believed that the lottery terminal connection to Belfast failed for a brief time today as well.

Saturday 19th September 1998
In an experimental move, today's draw was a unique Super Draw - only the 5+bonus tier was topped up (by an extra £15m) instead of the jackpot tier and in the process helped create the first ever 5+bonus millionaires.

Saturday 12th September 1998
The BBC lottery TV show failed to display the computerised balls live during the draw for the first time ever (a poor camera shot of the real balls was used instead), though they did manage to show them as the closing credits rolled a few minutes later.

Wednesday 9th September 1998
A 6-week run of 30-minute Wednesday The National Lottery Dreamworld TV shows, hosted by Ulrika Jonsson, began today.

Saturday 29th August 1998
By the third week of Easy Play, Vernons had lost over £2m by staging three Super Draws in the first three weeks of the game.

Saturday 15th August 1998
Camelot's official Web site had an empty results page from 8pm BST this evening through to about the following Tuesday morning.

Saturday 15th August 1998
Camelot and Vernons jointly launched their Easy Play soccer lottery pools game - 11 soccer games are randomly chosen by the lottery terminal and there's a prize for matching between 5 and 8 score draws. The first game was a bit of a disaster - the ticket sales were less than the prizes thanks to a mis-guided £2 million Super Draw and resulted in a loss to Vernons of over £750,000. The first 3 Easy Play games are £2 million Super Draws, although this hasn't been made at all clear to the general public.

Friday 14th August 1998
This appears to be the modification date of both Camelot's home page (to add a link) and Vernon's new (and dismal) Easy Play Web site.

Early August 1998
Camelot added a new phone number, 0845 9100000, which is exactly the same as the current 0645 100000 number (i.e. both go to the same tone interface). Camelot's 0645 numbers will be eventually phased out and all Camelot literature from now on uses the 0845 number. Note that the MINICOM number is now 0845 9100045.

Saturday 18th July 1998
With the Big Ticket having finished last Saturday, the lottery TV show will revert back to a more normal 20-minute show, although the old idea of touring around the country with the show will be revived.

Monday 13th July 1998
An extra "1" is now required in the tone interface on Camelot's phone line, so the number to get the human operator is now 0645 100 000 *114.

July 1998
Camelot established Project 16 Taskforce to tackle the problem of retailers selling UK lottery tickets to under-age players.

Saturday 13th June 1998
By airing the lottery TV show in the middle of the Holland vs. Belgium World Cup game, the entire draw segment only lasted 2 minutes and 50 seconds, making it the shortest ever Saturday UK lottery TV show.

Tuesday 2nd June 1998
Camelot announced record annual pre-tax profits of over £80m today.

Monday 1st June 1998
Camelot upgraded their phone system today and changed the voice on the line from male to (a loud) female. Also, only one star is needed to access the tone interface, so the number to get the human operator is now 0645 100 000 *14.

Wednesday 27th May 1998
Ginger Spice Geri Halliwell failed to turned up to the extended Wednesday lottery TV show. Although the official reason was a stomach virus, it turned out that Geri had started moves that eventually led her to leaving the Spice Girls.

Wednesday 27th May 1998
Jack Hewitt, a 79-year-old great-grandfather from St. Helens in Merseyside, became the oldest ever UK lottery jackpot winner after scooping £1,666,667 in the 30th Super Draw that took place today.

Friday 15th May 1998
Camelot changed the Studio Play rules for their TV Dreams scratchcard and have set up a reserve pool of winners of the £1,000 Instant Cash Win prize. This reserve pool will be used as an additional source of Studio Play winners - Camelot were concerned that not enough Studio Play winners had come forward. A revised TV Dreams game info leaflet was also released.

Wednesday 13th May 1998
The lottery TV show was squeezed into a 2 minutes and 32 seconds segment in the middle of the Cup Winners' Cup Final, making it the shortest ever UK lottery show.

Monday 20th April 1998
Camelot bought GTech's 22.5% stake in the consortium for £51 million.

Saturday 11th April 1998
Over 250 million prizes have now been won since the lottery started.

Saturday 28th March 1998
The Saturday TV show was extended to 55 minutes and was temporarily renamed The National Lottery Big Ticket during its 16-week tie-in with the TV Dreams scratchcard. Apart from the show itself being dismal, the third ball in the first ever TV Home Play draw was drawn using the wrong ball set, so Camelot had to re-draw it and honour both sets of 4 numbers !

Saturday 6th March 1998
The official UK lottery Web site was finally significantly updated. The changes included a new TV Dreams section (less info than mine of course !) and an intermediate latest results page (still one level down the site - the home page remains as static as ever).

March 1998
Camelot introduced a direct debit service for UK National Lottery subscription players, but still incredibly refused to allow non-UK people to subscribe, as well prohibiting credit card payments or subscriptions by phone or the Internet !

Saturday 14th February 1998
Camelot changed their phone number to 0645 100 000 **14 if you want to get through to a human phone operator for the main UK lottery (this is because **2 now selects a TV Dreams option).

Tuesday 3rd February 1998
In the wake of yesterday's libel verdict, the head of the UK lottery regulator OFLOT, Peter Davis, resigned his post and has been temporarily replaced by John Stoker.

Monday 2nd February 1998
Richard Branson won his two-way libel case against Guy Snowden (head of US lottery firm GTech) - Branson had accused Snowden of offering him a bribe to pull out of the UK lottery licence bid and was awarded £100,000 in damages. Snowden resigned as a director of Camelot and from the board of GTech.

Saturday 24th January 1998
Tracey Makin became the youngest ever jackpot winner (of £1,055,171) at 16 years of age.

Saturday 24th December 1997
The live TV show tried to announce the number of jackpot winners for the draw live before they went off-air. They dismally failed, leaving my Web site to be the first (out of TV, teletext and the Internet) to announce that there were 2 jackpot winners :-)

Saturday 20th December 1997
This draw was a Christmas Super Draw with a guaranteed jackpot pool of £25 million. There were two jackpot winners, but one of them has yet to claim their prize !

Saturday 29th November 1997
The lottery TV show was renamed to The National Lottery Draw (the word "Live" was replaced) and the studio had a new set for the show.

Saturday 22nd November 1997
Anthea Turner returned to one-off host the 200th lottery draw, which also marked the closest Saturday to the third anniversary of the UK lottery. Sadly, the TV show was an exasperatingly long 30 minutes ! This draw was a Super Draw with a guaranteed jackpot of £25 million.

Wednesday 19th November 1997
This was a Super Draw with a guaranteed £15 million jackpot that celebrated the fact that it was exactly three years since the first lottery draw.

Saturday 15th November 1997
To celebrate the third anniversary of the lottery, this was the date of the first of three consecutive Super Draws. The jackpot for this draw was a guaranteed £10 million and celebrated the third anniversary of the opening of the public lottery phone line and the first ticket sales on Monday 14th November 1994.

Saturday 8th November 1997
The official UK lottery Web site was revamped completely by Red Kite New Media today (no frames, better graphics and, most importantly, better content). A shame they don't put the latest winning numbers on the home page and seem to be quite tardy with the latest results as well.

Saturday 4th October 1997
Neil Stephenson of York won a 13th share of one of today's jackpots (i.e. £167,459.38) as part of a syndicate and became the youngest ever UK jackpot winner at the age of 16.

Saturday 27th September 1997
This draw was only third double rollover draw since the lottery began. A four-member pub syndicate from New Ash Green, near Dartford, Kent, accidentally picked the winning numbers twice (which has never been done before in the UK lottery), netting them a cool £10.8 million. Greig Stevens of Southend, Essex, became the youngest ever jackpot winner at the age of 19 when he won £5.4m today.

Saturday 20th September 1997
Over 200 million prizes have now been won since the lottery started.

Wednesday 17th September 1997
Corporate Citizen names Camelot as the giving the highest percentage of profits (4.47%) to charity of any UK company.

Sunday 7th September 1997 (7.05am)
Camelot's official Web site displayed the incorrect numbers for over four hours this morning for today's 12.15am non-televised draw.

Thursday 4th September 1997 (11pm)
A ticket bought on the Wirral for Lottery #126 won a £552,002 jackpot prize, remained unclaimed after 180 days and was duly added to the National Lottery Distribution Fund. This was only the third time that a jackpot prize has expired.

Wednesday 3rd September 1997
The TV shows for this draw and the next one were cancelled as a mark of respect for Princess Diana - both draws took place off-camera instead (Wednesday 8pm BST and Sunday 12.15am BST respectively).

Thursday 27th August 1997 (11pm)
A ticket bought in Coventry for Lottery #124 won a £408,500 jackpot prize, remained unclaimed after 180 days and was duly added to the National Lottery Distribution Fund. This was only the second time that a jackpot prize has expired.

Saturday 9th August 1997
Camelot has changed the lottery ticket again for the third time in just two months. This time, they've got a new pattern on the front of the ticket, but most retailers will take a while to get the new ticket rolls in of course.

Friday 8th August 1997
A lottery ticket now has the 16-digit security code displayed just below the "newsflash" as well as in its original location just below the retailer number.

Monday 21st July 1997
The Government unveiled a White Paper on the lottery, which includes the creation of a sixth Good Cause for health and education projects. They also released a more concise leaflet to promote it.

Monday 14th July 1997
The Department of National Heritage (responsible for lottery funding) was renamed the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and a new web site was launched at www.culture.gov.uk (with a lottery section of course).

Friday 20th June 1997
Camelot extended the BBC's lottery TV show contract for another 12 months today.

Wednesday 11th June 1997
All non-rollover Wednesday draws between now and 9th July 1997 will be Super Draws with a guaranteed £5 million jackpot.

Saturday 7th June 1997
Camelot incorrectly rounded the individual jackpot prize up to the nearest pound instead of down. They admitted their mistake and honoured the discrepancy from their own funds. The lottery TV show was beaten in the ratings for the first time ever tonight (by ITV's Stars In Their Eyes Final).

Sunday 1st June 1997
Camelot raised their Good Causes target from £9 billion to £10 billion.

June 1997
Camelot changed the wording on the back of a lottery ticket, but the new text failed to explicitly instruct people to fill their name and address on the back !

Thursday 29th May 1997
Camelot announced a drop in all their year-end figures, including:

Wednesday 28th May 1997
Camelot announced an average pay rise of 40% for its board of directors (one board member received a 90% pay rise !), much to the fury of the new Labour Government.

Saturday 10th May 1997
Terry Wogan presents six Saturday UK lottery TV shows from this date onwards.

Tuesday 1st April 1997
The UK National Lottery became the world's first national lottery to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation.

Saturday 22nd March 1997
Bob Monkhouse took over the presenting of the Saturday lottery TV show from Dale Winton today. It was also the first rollover draw since the lottery switched to two draws a week.

Friday 21st March 1997
Instants scratchcards celebrated their second anniversary today.

Monday 17th March 1997
The Lucky Dip facility on lottery terminals was exactly one year old today.

Wednesday 26th February 1997
The fourth midweek draw was the seventh Super Draw with a guaranteed £7m jackpot.

Saturday 22nd February 1997
Over 150 million prizes have now been won since the lottery started.

Wednesday 19th February 1997
The third midweek draw was the sixth Super Draw with a guaranteed £7m jackpot.

Wednesday 12th February 1997
The second midweek draw was the fifth Super Draw with a guaranteed £10m jackpot.

Saturday 8th February 1997
Camelot's computers failed and they had their longest ever delay (almost 26 hours !) before announcing the full results. To add insult to injury, the official lottery WWW site changed the date (spelled wrong) and draw number at 10.51pm tonight (slow or what ?), but didn't change the winning numbers for the latest draw, which could have seriously fooled people into thinking they'd lost when they hadn't ! It was finally fixed at 2.14pm on Monday would you believe it...

Wednesday 5th February 1997
Camelot started a second draw each Wednesday from this date onwards, launching it with a "Winsday" firework display over the River Thames, started by Barbara Windsor and Tim Holley (Camelot's chief executive). The Sun newspaper gave away all 5 million of its copies for free today, thanks to an 8-page lottery supplement paid for by Camelot.

There is now a BBC 1 TV show to accompany this new draw as well, presented by Carol Smillie. The first midweek draw was a Super Draw (the fourth one) with a guaranteed £10m jackpot (minus £1 for rounding down because there were 3 winners !).

Tuesday 4th February 1997
BBC teletext expanded its lottery section to five pages (555-559), which now include separate pages for the Saturday and Wednesday draws.

Thursday 30th January 1997
Camelot released a new design of playslip to cope with the forthcoming midweek draw. A new How To Play leaflet was also released today. Camelot's official WWW site had a "midweek draw" revamp (complete with two sets of presenters' heads and winning balls !).

Monday 20th January 1997
Camelot launched their new under-age phone hotline to report the illegal sales of scratchcards and tickets to under-16 purchasers.

Saturday 18th January 1997
BBC teletext started a third lottery page (554) that now includes lottery news and phone numbers that used to be on page 555.

Tuesday 14th January 1997 and Wednesday 15th January 1997
Camelot's official WWW site took over two weeks to replace Bob Monkhouse's face with Dale Winton's on the home page. Having belatedly fixed that mistake, they then made a worse one by leaving Lottery #94's winning numbers and date (Saturday 31st August 1996) on the home page for over 2 days ! It was eventually fixed during Thursday lunchtime.

Saturday 11th January 1997
The combined sales of the online lottery and the scratchcards since they began exceeded £10 billion today - a fact that was missed by both Camelot and the UK media and was first mentioned on these pages !

Saturday 4th January 1997
Camelot sold 21,085 multi-draw tickets today that covered 8 weeks of draws, instead of 5 (Camelot were supposed to gradually phase out multi-draw tickets until the midweek draw started). This meant the tickets covered Saturdays beyond the next 8 draws and Camelot have honoured the date range by giving those lucky players free entry to the Wednesday draws in the date range, costing them a staggering £200,000 !

Saturday 28th December 1996
Dale Winton took over as the presenter of the lottery TV show.

Sunday 22nd December 1996
Camelot introduced a tone phone interface to their lottery line phone system today after over 2 years of running an awkward voice-activated interface. Adding **4 to the end of the 0645 100 000 number gets you straight through to a human operator.

Saturday 30th November 1996
The Guinevere lottery machine failed to start for the 107th draw this evening, delaying the draw by about 55 minutes. Oflot have launched a full inquiry into the incident.

Thursday 21st November 1996 (11pm)
A ticket bought in Hull (allegedly by the deceased husband of an 83-year-old widow) for Lottery #80 won a £2,054,754 jackpot prize, remained unclaimed after 180 days and was duly added to the National Lottery Distribution Fund - this was the largest ever unclaimed and expired UK National Lottery prize. A terminally ill 63-year-old Hull man, Brian Hay, attempted a hoax claim only seconds before the 11pm deadline.

Saturday 16th November 1996
Camelot celebrated the second anniversary of the lottery with a third Super Draw, topping the jackpot pool up with an extra £9.9m. Unfortunately, a computer failure (at 3pm and lasted 40 minutes) delayed the full results of the anniversary draw until the next day.

Saturday 16th November 1996
BBC teletext redesigned their entire service, including starting two new lottery pages (555 and 556) on both BBC 1 and BBC 2. This was the first time that BBC 1 teletext has had a permanent lottery page and also marked the first time that the TV show displayed the teletext page numbers under the balls at the end of the programme.

Friday 15th November 1996
The Camelot Foundation was established today to allow Camelot to bring all its charitable activities under one umbrella.

Monday 11th November 1996
Camelot redesigned the UK lottery ticket to include a cancellation box and a new horizontal security barcode.

Sunday 10th and Monday 11th November 1996 (11am)
To commemorate Remembrance Sunday, Camelot halted their terminal network for two minutes on two consecutive days. This was first time they'd deliberately interrupted ticket sales in the middle of the day.

Tuesday 22nd October 1996 (4.10pm)
Camelot's official WWW site failed to display the winning numbers for a record 68 hours following the draw.

Monday 9th September 1996
After nearly 22 months of being on a waiting list for a lottery terminal, my local Tesco, the largest store for miles around, was finally delivered one - an appalling oversight on Camelot's part really.

Saturday 7th September 1996
Bob Monkhouse resumed presenting the lottery TV show for a further 16 weeks.

Tuesday 3rd September 1996
The second design phase of Camelot's official WWW site increased the home page connections to 18 (don't shudder) and included new Instants (21 connections) and Good Causes sections. One welcome change was the inclusion of an e-mail address for the site. The URL for the site was promoted for the first time as a newsflash printed on lottery tickets.

Saturday 10th August 1996
Dale Winton guest presented of the lottery TV show for four weeks starting from this date.

Saturday 3rd August 1996
Jimmy Tarbuck was a guest presenter of the lottery TV show for one week only.

Thursday 18th July 1996
Camelot is named as the world's largest and most efficient lottery operator by independent lottery expert, Terri La Fleur.

Saturday 13th July 1996
Ulrika Jonsson became the guest presenter of the lottery TV show for a 3 week period.

Thursday 4th July 1996
This is the date of the oldest files on Camelot's official WWW site, although the press launch for it went by unnoticed. The only Camelot reference I've seen to their WWW site is a URL on the bottom of their latest stationery !

Saturday 29th June 1996 (4.30pm)
Lottery ticket sales were suspended for four minutes due to a network failure possibly caused by road work engineers cutting through a cable. Some retailers were offline for up to an hour.

Saturday 22nd June 1996
The first of an 11-week sequence of special guest presenters of the lottery TV show began today with Carol Smillie temporarily taking over from Bob Monkhouse (who is busy with his own Bob Monkhouse On The Spot show).

Saturday 1st June 1996
Over 100 million prizes have now been won since the lottery started.

Tuesday 21st May 1996
Camelot released their second Reports and Accounts, covering their business details for the year until 31st March 1996. They indicated an average profit for Camelot of £1m a week (£51.1m for the year).

Saturday 27th April 1996
Bob Monkhouse hosted the lottery TV show for a block of 8 weeks starting from this date.

Saturday 20th April 1996
Anthea Turner presented her last ever lottery TV show on this date. She has signed a deal for a cool £1m with ITV to host some crappy rival to Blind Date, called All You Need Is Love.

Thursday 21st March 1996
Camelot celebrated the first anniversary of their Instants scratchcard game today, with sales running in excess of £1.5 billion so far.

Sunday 17th March 1996
Camelot introduced a Lucky Dip facility on playslips and terminals, a 7-board playslip, a change to the 3-match prize rule, a new How To Play leaflet and a new Rules For On-Line Games And The National Lottery Procedures booklet.

Saturday 3rd February 1996
Ticket sales exceeded 75 million for the first time in a "normal" week.

Saturday 27th January 1996
Ticket sales for the second double rollover were depressed because of sub-zero temperatures throughout the week.

Saturday 13th January 1996
Ticket sales exceeded 70 million for the first time in a "normal" week.

Saturday 6th January 1996
The first ever double rollover draw created record ticket sales of nearly 128m [including 9m sold between 3pm and 4pm on the Saturday with a peak rate of 5,000 tickets a second], a record total prize pool of about £81m and a record jackpot prize pool of about £42m (shared amongst 3 winners though). Predictably, the entire 28,000-strong lottery terminal network ground to a halt for 20 minutes today due to a ticket sale frenzy.

Monday 1st January 1996
Camelot took the unprecedented step of shutting down all lottery terminals on New Year's Day because most stores were closed during this public holiday. Normally this would be OK, but the fact that it was the first ever double rollover week didn't help matters much.

Saturday 30th December 1995 (4pm-5pm)
A post-Christmas rollover generated the largest number of lottery tickets sold in a one-hour period: a staggering 5.1 million ! This equates to over 1,400 tickets a second.

Monday 11th December 1995
Richard Branson claims he was offered a bribe by the head of GTech Corporation (one of the partners in the UK lottery consortium) to pull out of the lottery contract bid. The claim was aired on BBC 1's Panorama programme.

Saturday 18th November 1995
The UK National Lottery celebrated its first anniversary today and used it as an excuse to extend the TV show to a tortuous 25 minutes (the longest since the very first hour-long show).

Monday 23rd October 1995
The National Lottery Charities Board handed out the first £40m of lottery money to UK charities today.

Thursday 12th October 1995
Over one billion scratchcards have now been sold, creating 177m winners and 186 £50,000 jackpot winners less than 7 months after their launch. A shame that Camelot refuse to reveal the number of jackpot winners of each individual scratchcard game though !

Saturday 30th September 1995
Road menders cut a phone line during the week, which disabled 200 lottery terminals in parts of Humberside and north Lincolnshire.

Tuesday 26th September 1995
By this date, £1 billion had been raised for Good Causes by the UK National Lottery.

Thursday 21st September 1995
Lee Ryan, one of the two £6.5m winners of the second Super Draw, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for handling stolen luxury cars prior to his win.

Friday 8th September 1995
£42m of lottery money will be used to build a 6,000 mile bicycle network, linking all major UK towns and passing within 2 miles of 21 million people.

Saturday 22nd July 1995
Total prize money from all the lotteries has now exceeded £1 billion.

Saturday 8th July 1995
The Benson family from Hull had their house burgled as they went to collect their £20m winnings from the 34th draw.

Saturday 1st July 1995
Ticket sales have now exceeded £2 billion since the lottery began.

July 1995
A National Audit Office report entitled Evaluating the Applications to Run the National Lottery endorsed the decision of OFLOT to select Camelot as the UK National Lottery operator, although this report came out some 14 months after Camelot had already been picked !

Monday 19th June 1995
Camelot released their first Reports and Accounts, covering their business details up until 31st March 1995. They indicated an average profit for Camelot of £300,000 a week.

Saturday 17th June 1995
Ticket sales exceeded 65 million for the first time in a "normal" week.

Saturday 10th June 1995
The largest ever jackpot win by a single ticket of £22,590,829 happened today - the lucky recipients were Paul Maddison and Mark Gardiner from Hastings, East Sussex.

Saturday 10th June 1995 (11.30am)
A computer link failure caused 5% of lottery terminals to be unavailable for "15 minutes" (Camelot's claim) or "most of the day" (people's experience).

April 1995
£12.5m of lottery money is given to the Churchill family in exchange for Sir Winston Churchill's personal papers, causing huge controversy and much resentment that a former Prime Minister's papers weren't donated to the country for free.

Saturday 1st April 1995
After touring around the country for some 5 months, the live TV draw returned to its permanent home in the BBC TV centre (obviously cheaper !).

Tuesday 21st March 1995
The Instants scratchcard game was launched. However, the paltry £50,000 maximum jackpot (down to a mere £1,000 for Games 19 and 21 !) has made the scratchcards less popular than the main lottery.

Saturday 11th March 1995
The second Super Draw (£4m added to the jackpot) produced two jackpot winners, but sadly marked the beginning of a 20-month gap to the next Super Draw.

March 1995
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimated that donations to charities had fallen by £70m, mostly due to the lottery. This estimate was reinforced when Tenovus, a cancer charity, had to close its monthly lottery (which raised £1.5m a year) because of competition from the UK National Lottery.

Saturday 11th February 1995
13 weeks after the lottery began, BBC teletext (BBC 2 page 750 to be precise) finally carries lists of previous winning numbers. BBC 1 teletext is still very poor (withdraws this week's lottery results within 24 hours !) considering they air the draw live on BBC 1 TV and ITV teletext page 123 remains the best teletext pages on the lottery.

Saturday 28th January 1995
Six lottery terminals were stolen in Glasgow and at least 3 were used to print "fake" tickets, sold to the public for £1 each !

Saturday 21st January 1995
Ticket sales exceeded 60 million for the first time in a "normal" week.

Saturday 14th January 1995
There were a massive 133 jackpot winners and over 2 million prize winners in the 9th draw - figures which are freakish to say the least (and that also meant the prizes were pretty lousy)...

Saturday 7th January 1995
The first ever Super Draw (top-up of jackpot to £10m) was a damp squib - no-one won the jackpot !

Saturday 24th December 1994
First connection disaster as about 3,000 terminals fail to connect to the central computer for about 2 hours on Christmas Eve. This sixth draw had an unclaimed 5+bonus prize (£342,398), which has now expired and been added to the National Lottery Distribution Fund.

Saturday 10th December 1994
Sensation as the first rollover draw not only produced a single £17.88m winner, but also caused a press frenzy because the winner wished to remain anonymous. Camelot "let it slip" that he was an Asian factory worker in Blackburn and it wasn't hard for the Press to track him down after that. Camelot learned from their mistake in later draws and now give out no details if the winner wishes to remain anonymous (not even whether it's a syndicate or an individual).

Saturday 10th December 1994
The UK National Lottery subscription service (not advertised by retailers for fear of losing their 5% commission and similarly kept quiet by Camelot because it would upset retailers if Camelot promoted it) was launched. There's a a shockingly number of subscribers after 5 years because of this non-promotion: only 14,000 people subscribe to the lottery (and I'm one of them) !

Saturday 3rd December 1994
The third draw was the first one to fail to produce a jackpot winner.

Saturday 26th November 1994
The first four UK National Lottery millionaires were created by the second draw.

Saturday 19th November 1994
First live TV draw, hosted by Noel Edmonds. Lasted an excruciating hour (yes, that's 60 minutes !) and was watched by 22m people. The first draw failed to produce a millionaire, much to Camelot's embarrassment.

Monday 14th November 1994 (7am)
The UK National Lottery was launched, complete with fireworks on the River Thames. About £7m of tickets were sold in the first 12 hours, although no terminals in Luton were functional and 18 of the 45 Isle of Wight terminals weren't working on the launch day.

Friday 4th November 1994
First TV advert screened. 21.8 million homes were mailshotted with a lottery leaflet. Advertising launch cost a staggering £39m (was it really needed, since the demand was bound to be huge anyway ?). Amazingly, the advertising fails to prominently mention the subscription service [probably because the retailers would be upset at losing their commission !] and this still remains largely unknown.

Tuesday 19th September 1994
Retailer training commenced with 4,000 events in 217 locations around the country.

Thursday 15th September 1994
First playslips delivered to 10,000 retailers.

Monday 4th September 1994
Retail terminal installation started. Racal provided X25 and VSAT networks and over 1,000 concentrators for linking retail terminals to the central computer. The network can handle 400,000 plays per minute and the typical transaction time is under 5 seconds. ICL manufactured 13,535 terminals in the space of 10 weeks.

Tuesday 1st August 1994
Main computer installation commenced at Watford and Aintree.

Friday 29th July 1994
A section 5 lottery licence, which expires on Sunday 30th September 2001, was formally awarded to Camelot. Section 6 lottery licences were also awarded to the on-line game and to each of the subsequent scratchcard games as they were introduced by Camelot.

Thursday 16th June 1994
Camelot moved into its Watford headquarters (500-550 employees) and also equipped offices in Aintree (50 employees - primarily telesales) and Northampton (30 employees - distribution centre). 11 regional lottery centres were also identified and equipped.

Wednesday 25th May 1994
Camelot were selected to operate the UK National Lottery, mainly because they promised to return the most to Good Causes and spend the least on operating costs and profit. At this point, Camelot had 23 weeks to launch the lottery and could incur a £1m penalty for every day they were late with the launch.

Monday 14th February 1994
Camelot submitted its bid for the UK National Lottery to OFLOT, the lottery regulator. It had to compete with 6 other bidders.

Tuesday 21st December 1993
The invitation to apply to be the UK National Lottery's operator was published.

Thursday 27th May 1993
Camelot Group plc, who currently run the UK National Lottery, was incorporated as a public company.

The National Lottery Act 1993 was passed into law by UK parliament and enables the establishment of a UK National Lottery after a competitive tendering process.

[Background Info]

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