Phone line operators need Lottery licence

8:04 am April 10, 2007 | posted in Bingo News

Premium phone line operators will need lottery licences to operate under new provisions in the Gambling Act 2005, implemented in September, according to industry sources.

Regulator Icstis last month met broadcasters to discuss allegations that some shows did not give callers a chance of winning. It asked programme makers to carry out a thorough review of all current and forthcoming premium rate services.

In March, broadcaster Five suspended quiz shows using premium rate services after an audit showed winners had been faked. Concern centred on Five’s show Brainteaser, produced by Cheetah Television, a subsidiary of Big Brother creators Endemol.

Viewers were asked to solve a word puzzle within five minutes but when the audience failed to get the right answer, fictional names of winners were listed on screen.

On one occasion a member of the production crew went on air posing as a “winning contestant”.

The problem came to light when Five began a review of its premium rate telephone services.

TV watchdog Ofcom is investigating, while Five’s chief executive Jane Lighting apologised to viewers, saying she was “shocked and disappointed” that their standards had not been maintained.

Also being investigated by Icstis are six other shows: Channel 4’s Richard and Judy, the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and ITV programmes the X Factor, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Soapstar Superstar and I’m A Celebrity.

Scott Davies, director of mobile phone game company Million 2-1, which does have a lottery licence is reported to have recently said “If you look at a lot of the services they are generally operating in the realms of being games of chance, and any game of chance is technically classified as a lottery. I think if you look at a lot of the call TV shows at the moment which are blatant lotteries when you call in and get selected to go on air, you are going to have to get a real free route to enter, which obviously questions the commercialisation, or get a lottery licence and do them under the correct legislation,” he added.

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