If you read the Daily Express or the Daily Star you should have heard about the Health Lottery. You might also have seen the promotions for the first lottery draw show on Channel 5 which is to be presented by Melinda Messenger.
I only became aware of it when a Health Lottery stand appeared beside the check-out queue in my Co-op supermarket in Debenham.
These three media operations promoting it are a part of Richard Desmond’s media empire. He is also behind the Health Lottery through his company Northern and Shell.
As a BBC report says: “The company has not disclosed how much profit it eventually envisages to make from the Health Lottery.”
According to the BBC the Heath Lottery will make donations to good causes of 20.34p for each £1 lottery entry. The comparable figure for the National Lottery is 28p.
The scheme is administered by the People’s Health Trust which runs the lotteries for 51 local local promoters who will decide on the distribution of funds.
These promoters are all registered at the same address in Clerkenwell, London, and go by meaningless names such as HealthIntent, HealthSuccess, HealthStrength and HealthCommit for Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire respectively.
Established heath charities across the country are concerned about the impact of the Health Lottery.
I have emailed the East of England Co-op asking why it is supporting this project. I will post again when I have a reply.
In the meantime, I fear William King, Ipswich’s pioneer of the co-operative movement is already turning in his grave.
Update, Oct 11: East of England Co-op tell me that they do not control what goes into their shops and my request for the reasons for installation of these terminals has been forwarded to Manchester, co-op headquarters.