The bitter war between The Health Lottery and Camelot took a new twist this week as THL accused the national lottery operator of abusing its dominant position and acting as "an unelected policeman" of the lottery sector.

In a letter to Camelot regulator the National Lottery Commission and gambling minister John Penrose, THL CEO Martin Hall claimed Camelot had sent letters to retailers questioning the lawfulness of THL - echoing its complaint to the Gambling Commission last month. 

By writing to retailers, Camelot was prejudicing them against THL, argued Hall. "I understand that the dominant, monopoly owner of the category would want to protect its position, but that doesn't make it a reasonable stance," he said. "Lawyers have told us this appears to be an abuse of its market position and unlawful interference with our contractual relations. It is also potentially defamatory." Camelot was effectively acting as an "unelected policeman", he added.

The authorities are looking into Camelot's claims. Last week, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt asked the Gambling Commission to investigate whether THL was diverting money away from smaller society lotteries and good causes as alleged by Camelot, which said it had "no option but to write to the Gambling Commission detailing the concerns we have about the lawfulness of THL."

THL's complaint, however, has so far fallen on deaf ears. A National Lottery Commission spokeswoman said it had received a letter from THL but decided no regulatory action was required.