Media tycoon Richard Desmond has unveiled a new lottery game which aims to raise more than £50 million a year for health charities.
Tickets for the Health Lottery will cost £1, with 20.5p in the pound going back into local health projects across the country. This compares with the National Lottery which says it gives 28 per cent of prize money to good causes.
Details of prizes are yet to be worked out but Health Lottery chief executive Martin Hall said there would be “life-changing” cash jackpots every week and thousands of other winners.
Desmond, the chairman of Northern and Shell, said the decision to get involved was a “no-brainer”.
The newspaper and magazine proprietor, who bought Channel 5 last summer, said he would be able to provide first class distribution, promotion and marketing for the lottery.
“This is a great way of us being able to get across a minimum of £50 million a year to add to and change people’s lives,” he said.
“This is a ground-breaking, bold, new initiative that will be both great fun to play but also directly benefit local communities around Great Britain and the local health-linked projects that are important within those communities but are outside of NHS funding.
“The Health Lottery will provide something extra – extra choice, extra fun, extra winners and extra financial resources for health projects all over Great Britain.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be the owner of The Health Lottery brand and therefore fully associated with it.”
Desmond, owner of the Daily Express and OK! magazine, said he hoped the lottery would make a profit so more funds could be provided to the charities.
Asked whether the lottery had anything to do with David Cameron’s Big Society, he said it was “not political”.
The Health Lottery is made up of 31 society lotteries operated by non-profit making community interest companies (CICs), each representing a different region.
The charitable donations will be administered by an independent charitable trust with beneficiaries chosen by the interest groups.