I had a call from Michael Varu, a retailer trading in Sutton, Surrey (Mini store), who has had a PayPoint terminal for three years. He had just received a new contract for a five-year term and, as he also has a lottery terminal, asked should he sign and how will he then stand in relation to Camelot, which might offer better commission?

I asked PP and spokesman Peter Brooker replied: "The new contract, which is standard practice, doesn't change the situation in respect to rival terminals. Our position remains that the retailer is buying into the complete package which provides retailers with much more than additional footfall, incremental sales and commission payments."

This is where it gets interesting. He added: "As far as better commission is concerned, Camelot's proposal states clearly that 'There is no requirement that National Lottery retailers also offer Camelot's Commercial Services or any financial inducement offered to them to do so, including any form of better commission or pricing'."

He goes on: "Camelot might be holding out the carrot of more attractive commission, but appears to rule them out in the proposal it put to the National Lottery Commission.

"One other thing that retailers need to bear in mind is that if the bill payments service is provided by the Post Office (as stated in the proposal), the utilities won't be paying the Post Office any more for collecting payments, so a slim piece of cake will have to be divided between Post Office, Camelot and the retailer which doesn't leave much to go around. With PayPoint there are just two PayPoint and the retailer."

And he concluded: "Camelot's proposal might sound attractive at first glance, but I would urge retailers to examine it carefully, look at the long-term implications and not to make hasty judgments."

Mind you, I think PayPoint's accusation that Camelot's plans to move into bill payments is an abuse of monopoly is a bit rich given its stance on terminals.