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The UK national lottery provider reportedly gave over £1.2 billion in efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic over the past year, making it the largest contribution outside of the UK government.
In a recent financial report from Camelot, the lottery operator confirmed that annual sales topped £8 billion from April 2020 to March 2021, the first time the company has ever reached such a figure.
Despite the loss of sales at retailers in the first quarter of 2020, the company was quick to turn things around with its online platform, allowing players to continue supporting the nations lotteries and instant games from the comfort of their homes. This in turn allowed 1.2 billion pounds to be returned to local communities through Good Causes projects across the UK in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
During 2020 much of the UK’s national parks, monuments, museums and historic sites had to remain closed to limit the spread of the virus. Much of what prevented permanent closure was thanks to financial donations from Good Causes projects.
Throughout 2020 Camelot continued to work directly with organisations affected by COVID-19, including the National Football League, the LTA’s Wheelchair World-Class Programme, and the Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League. As well as securing funding for much of the countries theatre productions, ensuring that pantomimes went ahead over the Christmas period.
The National Lottery generated an average of £36 million weekly for National Lottery-funded projects in 2020/21. In total, over £43 billion has now been raised and more than 635,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 225 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
Camelot awarded a record £4,854.7 million in prizes to players over the 2020/21 period, £349.7 million more than in 2019/20, and created 389 new millionaires, averaging just over 1 millionaire per day. Camelot continues to lead the fifth-largest lottery in the world in both online and retail sales.
Tokyo will officially kick off the opening ceremony for the “2020” Olympics despite official warnings from the Japanese health ministry.
The Olympics are due to start on 23rd July after postponing the event last year due to the pandemic.
Officials have designated an “audience lottery” to decide who may be permitted to attend the events. Organisers have capped crowds at 10,000 participants per sporting event. Non-residents will not be allowed to attend unless competing.
Up to 1 million people that had already purchased tickets will lose out on attendance due to the newly enforced lottery rules.
This is the first time that the Olympics have ever been postponed and rescheduled rather than cancelled. The modern Olympics have only been cancelled 3 times in its history, with all 3 cancellations due to the first and second world war.
The government will review the current sanctions on 11th July to deem if the events should go ahead without an audience.
Why is Japan going ahead with hosting?
Japan’s time hosting the Olympics has been marred by issues stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. In March 2020 the decision was made to reschedule the games, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that monitors which country will be hosting made it very clear to the Japanese government that under no circumstances would they be allowed to cancel the quadrennial event.
The announcement of the non-cancellation by Japan’s Olympics minister has sparked protests across Tokyo, with many of its citizens fearing that the government is putting lives at risk by continuing with the events. So far only 12% of the countries population is fully vaccinated.
Vaccination rates have gone up by just 1% since the NC governor announced a $1M lottery earlier this month.
The lottery was introduced to encourage people to get the Covid-19 vaccine; however, the number of vaccinations given seems to have stagnated in much of the state.
During a press conference, Gov. Cooper said the number of vaccines administered had not increased "significantly yet."
Similar prize money incentives have been introduced in other states; but unlike North Carolina, they have reported a positive increase in vaccination rates.
Vaccination rates in Ohio rose by over 30% in just one week, while California’s $116.5M lottery resulted in a rise in vaccines following the announcement.
Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates that only 40% of North Carolina’s population is fully vaccinated.
In an elaborate scheme of bribery and coercion, a Dominican mafia was able to secure more than 500 million pesos (£6.337 million) from the countries national lottery fund.
A report written by The Office of the Special Prosecutor for the Persecution of Administrative Corruption (PEPCA) showed that the fraud was committed on 1st May 2021, however, the scheme was originally planned to happen on 10th April.
The scheme, dubbed “Operation 13” by investigating authorities, involved fraudulent manoeuvres worthy of a movie script, with plans stretching back over 14 months to embezzle millions from the Dominican Republic and other countries such as the United States, Spain and Jamaica. Authorities noted that participants involved could have eluded detection entirely if they had been a little more careful and a bit less greedy.
The mafia worked with high ranking employees, including a television host, a blind person involved in the drawing process and newly appointed lottery administrator Luis Maisichell Dicent, to defraud lottery funds from the system. The Public Ministry prosecution revealed during their investigation that Mr Dicent headed the criminal association.
The Public Ministry confirmed that the criminals knew months before Dicent’s appointment in August 2020 that he would be chosen as National Lottery administrator, and therefore had ample time to prepare and recruit the persons necessary to carry out the operation.
PEPCA highlighted that a complaint filed with the Attorney General's Office by Mr Dicent included an attempt to bribe officials and offer false information during the investigation into the lotto fraud, which took place in the draw on 1st May 2021.
Among the employees involved were Carlos Pérez from technical support in live draws, Jonathan Ovalles, Sweepstakes Supervisor; Valentina Rosario, TV host and Miguel Mejía, the blind person who admitted to receiving 800,000 pesos (£10,139) to swap out the number 13 from the draw. Edison Perdomo, a cameraman, was in charge of taking the perfect angle so that the swap was not detected.
The judicial body explained that those involved in "Operation 13" were arrested on Saturday 12th June during 15 raids on the National District, and the Monsignor Nouel and Santo Domingo provinces.
Three of the ten people involved in the alleged fraud have confessed to agreeing to commit the act under threats and pressure from one of the leaders of the alleged plot.
They have also indicated that the mafia drew up a list of "untouchable retailers", from which the number 13 could not be chosen. The scheme was first attempted on 10th April with an unsuccessful draw. The plot was repeated in the draw on 1st May 2021.
Massachusetts man wins $1M for 2nd time in 4 years
A Mass. resident won a $1 million prize for the second time last week when he decided to play the states instant win ticket game.
Mr Toto previously won a $1 million prize in 2017 in the State Lotto “$4M Payout” game.
He did not originally intend to purchase a ticket when he stopped at his local convenience store, but a last-minute decision prompted a change of heart to purchase a “The Fastest Road to $1 Million” ticket, resulting in his win.
The store that sold the ticket will also receive a $10,000 bonus for the sale.
Slovakia will launch a lottery with weekly prizes of up to 2 million euros for vaccinated people and offer bonuses to those who refer others to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Slovakia has a population of 5.5 million, but only 33.5% have been vaccinated, according to statistics obtained by Reuters.
Data from the country's vaccination registration process shows a declining number of people waiting for a first shot as well as a decline in daily vaccinations from a May peak.
Slovakia has sold most of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines back to the country of origin. Slovakia shipped back 160,000 out of the 200,000 doses imported, at the same price as the original purchase, a health ministry spokeswoman said.
Slovakia is only the second EU country to use the Russian vaccine after Hungary. The EU has still not sanctioned the use of this particular vaccine, despite lab tests indicating that it is safe to use.
The proposal by the biggest ruling party offers people the opportunity to take part in the country’s vaccine lottery once after each shot.
Each Slovak who convinces another to get inoculated will also receive between €30-€90 euros if that person becomes fully vaccinated, with the amount rising with the age of the vaccinated person.
"Because another wave of the pandemic can be expected in the autumn it is necessary to develop a maximum effort to increase the public's interest in vaccination,"
Governments in Europe have raised the alarm due to the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, first found in India. Low vaccination rates raise the danger of a resurgence of the virus in the parts of populations that are not protected.
The Slovak government currently requires unvaccinated people to quarantine upon arrival from anywhere abroad, with exemptions for people commuting for work and children aged 12 to 18, who have until August to get vaccinated.
From July, non-vaccinated people also must take a PCR test when attending all public events, weddings or amusement parks.