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UK officials consider donating unclaimed lottery prizes to tsunami aid

UK National LotteryUK National Lottery: UK officials consider donating unclaimed lottery prizes to tsunami aid

Calls are growing for national lottery operator Camelot to donate the £16.3 million (US$30.9 million) worth of unclaimed winnings from last year to Asia's tsunami appeal.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for Camelot. I can't imagine how they could possibly say 'no,'" said Labour MP Stephen Pound.

"If the money isn't claimed, let's put it where it can actually do some real good," he told BBC Radio on Tuesday. "What on earth could be wrong with that?"

Camelot says £16.3 million (US$30.9 million) remains unclaimed from 2004.

One holder of a ticket bought in Belfast, Northern Ireland stands to win over £7 million (US$13.3 million) but the 6-month deadline for claiming that prize expires on February 3.

"We hear of many reasons why people don't come forward -- they accidentally throw away their tickets, they don't check their tickets properly or they lose them, to name just a few," said a Camelot spokesman.

But the idea of donating the money to the tsunami appeal may fall foul of red tape.

Gerald Oppenheim, Director of Planning and Performance at the Big Lottery Fund which distributes half the cash raised for good causes by the lottery, said the government would need to sanction any changes to the way cash is distributed.

"If the argument ran that there was to be a boost in lottery funds going to the Big Lottery Fund for this specific purpose, the rules would need to be amended. Only the government can do that," Oppenheim told Reuters.

Britain has donated £50 million in aid since the Boxing Day disaster and UK individuals have pledged another £76 million.

Reuters

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1 comment. Last comment 12 years ago by CASH Only.
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United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
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Posted: January 4, 2005, 3:28 pm - IP Logged

Boxing Day=day after Christmas