Camelot blocked from offering e-payments

Camelot blocked from offering e-payments

UK national lottery operator Camelot has had an application to use its terminals for commercial services such as electronic fund transfer and e-bill payment turned down.

The firm had sought permission to offer a range of services, including contactless payments, mobile phone top-ups and international calling cards through terminals at 28,000 retailers around the country.

However, in its provisional decision, the National Lottery Commission says it is "minded to refuse to grant consent" for the application to let Camelot undertake "ancillary activities" because of EU/competition law concerns. Interested parties still have a "final opportunity" to address the issue.

Camelot says the NLC's decision is "flawed" and maintains its proposals are lawful while the National Federation of Subpostmasters also expressed disappointment at the decision.

In contrast, Dominic Taylor, CEO of e-payments outfit PayPoint, says: "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."

Bill Thomson, UK MD for rival firm Payzone, adds: "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. This now raises the question over whether the industry needs intervention or regulation to create a truly competitive landscape to ensure that consumer needs are met with the widest choice and convenience."

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