Ladbrokes and Sportech to bid for the National Lottery

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The National Lottery Commission kicked off the bidding process to award a new contract to run the lottery for ten years beginning February 2009.

Ladbrokes said yesterday it was keeping its options open while examing a possible bid in partnership with Intralot, a supplier of lottery technology.

Sportech, which owns Littlewoods Pools, is also considering whether to bid. While Gala is no longer willing to proceed after it purchased Coral Eurobet and William Hill is not thought to be interested.

In separate news, a Nielsen Media Research study calculated a five-fold increase in internet users since the Soccer World Cup in 2002. A spokesman for Ladbrokes, which accepted £200m of bets during the 2002 World Cup, said the company expects as much as £500m of bets on the 2006 World Cup that will be held in Germany.