Lottery operator Camelot has upset independent retailers by linking up with Tesco to promote direct debit ticket subscriptions with loyalty points.
Selected Tesco loyalty cardholders are being invited to play by subscription ­ by setting up direct debits with Camelot ­ in the supermarket's latest Clubcard mailing, which went out last week.
Tesco is offering 500 Clubcard points, worth £5, to cardholders who set up a direct debit with Camelot before the end of September.
Camelot head of corporate communications Andrew Jones said: "It's the first time we have done this type of promotion, or offered subscriptions. We are using Tesco's Clubcard technology to target AB demographic customers who don't play the Lottery. We may approach other major retailers with storecards to set up similar schemes if the trial is a success."
Tesco will take the 5% commission on the subscriptions it generates through its promotion.
Lottery subscriptions are set to boom when Camelot starts selling tickets over the internet early next year. Jones said: "Subscriptions are targeted at attracting new customers. There are still plenty of players for independents to target and convert. We are still committed to maintaining a fair balance between independents and multiples in terminal allocation."
Independent Debbie Morton was furious to receive Tesco's Clubcard offering. She runs Mason's c­store in Lowestoft, Suffolk, serving elderly customers and offshore oil industry staff.
She said: "We are a small c-store ­ we are never going to compete with Tesco, and now it is offering incentives to my customers."
Association of Convenience Stores public affairs and commercial manager James Lowman said: "It's very disturbing not to have a level playing field, with more opportunity for players who sign up through Tesco."
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