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    Hundreds of post offices stop selling lottery tickets, scratch-cards 

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    A fifth of post offices in the UK will stop selling lottery tickets and scratch-cards, its operator has said.

    Last year, the Post Office decided last year to end its group contract with the National Lottery at the request of postmasters who wanted to receive full commission from sales, previously Post Office took around 1 per cent from each transaction. 

    The new lottery operator told the PA news agency that 900 of the 5,800 branches that had previously stocked National Lottery products have not signed up to continue. It says more than 600 had chosen not to, while up to 200 were unable to because of county court judgements.

    Allwyn, which took over running the lottery days ago, said reasons ranged from religious beliefs to low sales.

    The National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) said, for many, the issue is scratch-cards.

    “We would still be selling [lottery tickets] if it wasn’t for the scratch-cards,” Calum Greenhow, who runs a post office in West Linton in the Scottish Borders with his wife, and is the chief executive of the NFSP, told BBC.

    Under the previous group contract, the Post Office would cover the cost of the cards, but now each individual branch must pay for them themselves.

    Since they refresh every six weeks or so, Greenhow said they risk losing money on unsold stock. Under Gambling Commission rules, retailers are not allowed to sell lottery tickets without also stocking scratch-cards.

    New lottery operator Allwyn told the PA news agency that 900 of the 4,800 branches that had previously stocked National Lottery products have not signed up to continue.

    A Post Office spokesman said, “We have taken advantage of a change in the ownership of the National Lottery to deliver more money for postmasters.”

    They could now have independent agreements with Allwyn meaning they will receives all sales commission, he said.

    Allwyn’s new CEO, Andria Vidler, said a “vast majority” had signed up to the new licence, and that she believes lottery products attract people to the high street.

    “Retailers see this as a real encouragement to get people out”, she said.

    In addition, Allwyn said that 98.5 per cent of its 23,000 independent retailers overall had signed up to sell lottery products under the fourth licence. It has around 40,000 retail partners in total, with the remainder being the big supermarkets and retail chains, which it said were all signing up. The company’s 10-year licence operating the lottery started on Feb 1. It took over from Camelot which had run it since the game’s launch in 1994.

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