Camelot has welcomed research suggesting two-thirds of retailers would favour its plans to enter the market for bill payment, mobile phone top-ups and other commercial services.

Newly-released research conducted by Ipsos MORI shows 66% of independent retailers believe the commercial services sector would benefit from new operator entrants, while 81% want the option to use multiple suppliers of commercial services products. The research was published ahead of the National Lottery Commission’s (NLC) decision on Camelot’s application next month.

Commenting on the research and the NLC’s impending decision, Paul Charmatz, Camelot’s managing director of commercial services, said: “This new research strengthens the growing call for change in the commercial services sector. For too long, unfair and restrictive practices have been forced on retailers, curtailing progress in a sector that could deliver real benefits to consumers. 

“Camelot’s commercial services proposals would offer more choice, greater flexibility and better terms for retailers, consumers, as well as increasing returns to Good Causes. In addition to the latest research, we have been delighted with the levels of support we have received so far – particularly from some of the UK’s most influential legal minds, business analysts and retail trade bodies.”

The research also shows that 93% of respondents welcome Camelot’s plans to introduce new, faster technology, and 87% welcome Camelot’s proposals for improved payment terms and a simpler payment structure.

But PayPoint said Camelot’s plans would weaken competition in the market, and ultimately have a negative impact on retailers’ business.

Peter Brooker, PayPoint’s head of corproate affairs, said: “Camelot is trying to ignore the issue at the heart of the NLC’s deliberations: namely that, if Camelot is allowed to diversify into bill payments and mobile top-ups using its monopoly Lottery terminals, Lottery infrastructure, Lottery brand and Lottery revenues, that would inevitably distort and weaken competition in the bill payments and mobile top-up markets.  

“That would give Camelot the economic muscle to impose unattractive and anti-competitive terms on retailers.  Beyond the very short term, it would lead to the very opposite of what retailers want.”