Blue Monday For Chariot As Lotto Group Struggles
18 Oct 2006
Struggling lottery operator Chariot said yesterday that it was considering going into administration after moves to improve ticket sales for its 'monday' game failed.
In September, Chariot launched a series of 'free' £1m prize draws in a bid to lure more customers to its website.
Sales did increase following the promotion but have since fallen back and are "currently running below a level for Chariot to operate at break-even", the firm said.
Chariot said it was looking at other ways to improve sales but added there could be no guarantee they would be successful.
Over the past few months Chariot has been touting for a buyer but without success, it added.
"The board are currently taking appropriate advice and are continuing to investigate all possible options, ranging from a possible fundraising to the appointment, by the company, of an administrator," it said.
Shares dived 86 per cent following the update.
Chariot said it wished to reassure all registered users that all monies lodged in electronic wallets and pledged to play in future lotteries will remain the property of the players.
The board intends to continue to operate monday, it added.
Monday, launched in May as an alternative to the National Lottery, gives 30p in every £1 played to good causes.
Following a £2.6m rescue package unveiled in June, Chariot upped its charge to the 70 charities it supports to 6p in the pound from 1.8p to help shore up its finan- ces.
Chariot said the move was a temporary one, to be reviewed after six months, and the extra fees would be given back.
In July, Chariot said it had made start-up losses of £8m in the year to April 30.
Ticket sales had averaged £286,750 per draw and totalled £3.4m during the first 12 draws to July 24.
Its first draw was also hampered when its system crashed for several hours.