Here is my number one piece of news this year so far…Camelot has overtaken PayPoint in my most ‘popular’ complaints department. Never expected that.

Once upon a time Camelot burst upon us as the best thing since sliced bread. One in three indie retailers in our sector got National Lottery terminals. This meant that two in three retailers didn’t get terminals and all, ALL, calls to the helpline concerning Camelot in those days were regarding how they, too, could join the fairytale court of Camelot (for the record, Camelot was launched in 1994, this helpline launched in 1995).

Today the mood has darkened. Now I am hearing from retailers who don’t care if their terminal is removed, who complain about the proliferation of terminals and Scratchcard retailers in their area and watered-down commissions. They also complain about lack of reps’ visits (they only visit if there is a problem, they say) and third-party suppliers who show up with no notice.

Camelot makes no bones about spreading the wealth more thinly - anything to raise more money for good causes. And tightening the belt on the rep front must have meant savings. Ditto on outsourcing its maintenance crews. And putting everything online.

To the wider world, the public and all the authorities, Camelot has wrought wonders. It’s just that, within the industry, the workers at the coalface are no longer as happy with their lot.

I don’t know where it’s all going to end… if I could look into the future I would have bought that winning ticket by now.