Hosken Consolidated Investment, the black empowerment financial services group is poised to enter the race for the SA lottery licence. Sources say HCI is expected to play a lead role in a broad-based SA consortium that will make a bid for the licence. Automated Wagering International (AWI), the second-biggest online lottery company in the US, is expected to partner the consortium and provide it with the technological expertise. AWI runs the online lottery in Norway and a number of other state-owned US lotteries. HCI chairman Marcel Golding declined to comment on the speculation. So far International Lottery and Totalizator Systems, G-Tech and Scientific Games are among the leading international operators which have plans to enter the race. G-Tech,. the largest on-line operator in the world, suffered a major setback in the UK recently when a court ruled that Guy Snowden, its former chairman, had tried to bribe Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group, to drop out of the bidding for the UK lottery. G-Tech has a 22.5stake in Camelot, the consortium that runs the UK lottery. The national lottery is expected to be in place by April next year, but this deadline is unlikely to be met. Government guidelines, announced in February, have not been met and this will inevitably lead to a delay in the issuing of the licence. Government had hoped to notify the successful applicant in October. The guidelines envisaged the issuing of requests for proposals last month but the draft version is not yet available. Ajay Sooklal, director of gambling and lotteries, now expects the draft to be issued in early May. French operator Internationale des jeux abandoned plans to enter the biding citing the long delay for its decision.

Source: Sunday Times – Business Times