For those who do not have the lottery in their store (and there must be at least 100,000 because that's how many are waiting on Camelot's database) life can seem very unfair at times.

Ranjit Thind contacted me from her shop, Scraptoft Stores in Leicester, saying she was on a main road and had applied many times for the lottery. Could I help?

The short answer to that is emphatically no. If I could influence Camelot, I'd be in the South of France.

However, I rang the company because it has been much in the news of late and there was bound to be an update on its criteria and modus operandum.

A spokeswoman said: "We work with more than 28,000 retailers throughout the UK, ranging from large supermarket chains to small independent shops. In selecting our retailers we operate a fair and transparent policy, taking into account about 50 separate criteria including current and projected sales, footfall, store size and access, in addition to recommendations from our sales executives based on local insight."

As for the 100,000 still waiting, Camelot reviews the situation every quarter. "When a terminal becomes available, we assess the entire retail estate, rather than a particular geographical area and select those retailers who offer us the best opportunity to maximise sales and returns to good causes.

"Conversely," she added, "if we believe there is sufficient player demand in a particular area, we may select retailers close to one another. There is no 'waiting list'."

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