Hands up those of you who think that any new Tesco Express will automatically get the National Lottery. Oh, I see quite a few of you.
Camelot assures me that it isn’t so. There are no cosy head office arrangements in place. And there are quite a few disappointed Tesco Express outlets out there which haven’t met the criteria (including over-populating the area with terminals).
Jeet Bansi, who trades as a Londis in Banbury, Oxfordshire, probably won’t buy this theory. When he first took over the new store two-and-a-half years ago, the Co-op opposite already had the lottery. When he applied he was told that the area was sufficiently served. Another Co-op, three-quarters of a mile away, also has the lottery. But when Tesco Express recently opened up opposite Co-op number two, it got the lottery straightaway.
Jeet cannot understand why one end of the street is allowed two rivals with lottery terminals, but the other isn’t.
His is a 2,000sq ft store, with newly extended fresh and frozen sections, turning over £36-£37K a week. He has PayPoint, Payzone and the Health Lottery, which he says is doing quite well and which he is actively promoting “to make the public aware”.
So, on the face of it, Camelot looks like it holds the only missing piece to the jigsaw.
I asked Camelot what Jeet could do to improve his chances, having already advised him to report any and all recent improvements.
Turned out that was the right advice. Updates get fed into the database which is regularly reviewed.
Plenty of you have rung in the past to complain about multiple convenience stores seeming to get preferential treatment - and I imagine a few of you will now go up on our new website to add your comments. But how many of you have a Tesco Express nearby which doesn’t have the lottery? Now that would be interesting feedback.