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Health Lottery reportedly to be sold

Richard Desmond, owner of the Health Lottery, is reportedly considering selling the UK lottery competition in a deal that could be worth more than £100 million (€120 million/$164.1 million).

The Daily Telegraph newspaper said that Desmond, also owner of UK commercial broadcaster Channel 5, has received approaches from a number of potential buyers.

Vincent Tan, owner of English Premier League football club Cardiff City, and online casino software supplier Playtech have both been linked with offers.

Launched in 2011 as a rival to the UK National Lottery, the Health Lottery invites players to participate in a weekly draw, with one fifth of revenues being donated to health charities.

The Health Lottery has drawn criticism from some charities for the threat it poses to the National Lottery, which passes on a higher proportion of ticket sales to various good causes.

In 2012, National Lottery operator Camelot launched a High Court challenge in response to the Health Lottery being handed a licence. As reported by iGaming Business, the Canadian company lost the challenge and, after opting not to appeal the decision, signed an extension to its contract until 2023.

Despite the controversy surrounding the lottery, Desmond is said to value the Health Lottery at more than £100 million on the basis of the challenge it poses for the National Lottery licence next time around.

The news of the potential sale come shortly after the Health Lottery confirmed its move into the online bingo market with the launch of new internet bingo website Health Bingo, as reported by iGaming Business.

Desmond has also been linked with a sale of Channel 5 in a deal that could be worth around £700 million.

The multiple sell-off talks have prompted speculation in the financial world that Desmond could be seeking to expand and is looking to demonstrate the value of his various assets to financiers.