Not a lot of people win the lottery, and not a lot of retailers sell big winning tickets, so therefore not a lot of people know this: you must get Camelot's permission before you tell the press about a winner, even if that person has agreed to publicity.
In Asif Rabbani's case, it all went wrong when his father sold a winning ticket - for £100,000 - and was then photographed by the local press holding up said ticket. There had been no discussion with the winner about publicity and her name had not been divulged. The reporter covering the story left her phone number and said to pass it on if the customer would like to talk. When the customer returned and was told this, she said no publicity.
It turned out that this was neither here nor there because, when Camelot discovered that the press had the story, it immediately got in touch with the retailer and said that his terminal would
be switched off and he had
14 days to appeal for its
Asif, whose Londis store trades in York, has the National Lottery via a contract with the Post Office. After a stumbling start, the PO is now helping him through the appeal process.
"All I did was help publicise the lottery," he says. "The photo was great but it advertised Camelot in the picture and this apparently isn't allowed either."
Camelot has explained to me that it operates under extremely strict rules. It is not allowed to disclose any information about a winner unless it has consent. This could include even the broad geographical area in which they live, or images of the winning ticket or scratchcard. (The point is that armed with even the teeniest bit of info, our terrier-like press can root out the whole story).
If a winner consents to going public then Camelot must be informed before any information is released to third parties. This ensures the winner's decision is taken on an informed basis (ie, you might get begging letters, your children might be kidnapped; you've seen the movies).