The National Lottery Commission has blocked Camelot’s plans to branch out into the e-payment market due to concerns over competition law.

Camelot, which has operated the lottery since 1994, revealed in February this year that it wanted to provide mobile top-ups and bill payments through its 28,000 lottery terminals.

But following a consultation the National Lottery Commission this morning said it was “minded to refuse to grant consent to Camelot’s application… on the basis of the EU/competition law risks it raises”

Camelot said it was “assessing all options” following the provisional decision.

“We remain convinced that our detailed and carefully-considered plans, based on thorough and robust legal advice, should allow us to offer commercial services through National Lottery retailers,” the company said in a statement.

Rival e-payment operators welcomed the decision.

“Camelot’s application for a licence to enter this market was unlikely to enhance the availability of services for consumers but has highlighted some of the issues in the industry in relation to consumer choice and experience,” said Payzone UK managing director Bill Thomson.

PayPoint chief executive Dominic Taylor added: "This is a victory for local shops, including sub- post offices, whose earnings and footfall would be undermined by this proposal.

“Today's decision should protect vulnerable people from the increased temptation to gamble.”

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