Camelot says it could deliver its bill payment and phone top-up service to independent retailers "within weeks" if the National Lottery Commission (NLC) gives it the go-ahead later this month.

The NLC is expected to announce its final decision on Camelot's proposed service soon after months of legal wrangling. Following the Commission's provisional decision to veto Camelot's bid to enter the commercial services market last year on competition grounds, the lottery operator has sought high-level legal opinion from both the UK and the EU and is now certain that it can operate the service without breaking European competition law.

According to Camelot, the costs for it to enter the market would be similar to any other operator because of the extra equipment contactless card units, key readers and hand-held scanners it has to provide to plug-in to National Lottery terminals, meaning that it has no unfair advantage over any other operator.

Under the company's plan, retailers will be rewarded in the "most transparent way possible", Camelot's managing director of commercial services, Paul Charmatz, told C-Store, with every store being awarded commission according to published rates. Mobile top-ups will deliver 40p per £10, card payments will be charged at 12p per transaction, while bill payments will yield a minimum commission of 6p even for small key top-ups.

Camelot will donate 82.5% of its profits gained through these services to the good causes fund. It would also not force retailers to give up any competing terminals.

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