Pools operator Vernons has pulled the plug on its National Lottery
football game, Easy Play, due to poor sales.
Weekly revenue has plummeted from pounds 1.5m shortly after the game’s
launch in August last year, to an all-time low of pounds 250,000 at the
beginning of April.
A spokeswoman for Vernons said the game failed for two main reasons.
It was too complicated and, despite being a joint venture with Camelot,
was effectively overshadowed by the National Lottery.
Phil Jarrold, managing director of Easy Play, resigned last week and
Vernons said there would be six redundancies, but declined to give
It throws a cloud over the future role of Ian Lloyd Jones, Vernons
commercial director, who had marketing responsibility for Easy Play.
Vernons put pounds 12m into promoting the game with a TV, press and
radio ad campaign through BMP DDB and a door drop to more than ten
million homes through TSM.
Just two months after the first ad campaign went on air, the company
attempted to relaunch the game by featuring football’s bad boy Vinnie
Jones growling at the camera saying the game was not ’hard enough’.
The game was played on terminals that gave competitors a random
selection of 11 football matches from a fixture list of 49 for each
pounds 1 ticket. They won if five, six, seven or eight matches were
score draws, but the greater number of score draws the smaller the
The Vernons spokeswoman added that when the game launched, players found
it difficult to discover whether they held winning numbers because few
newspapers carried the results.
She said the game failed to appeal to its target audience for a number
of additional reasons. It was aimed at punters who played the pools, but
unlike the pools required little knowledge of team form, and therefore
failed to inspire. Vernons also aimed to attract women, which it failed
to do in significant numbers.
A spokesman for Camelot said the company shared Vernons’ disappointment
over the failure of the game, but pointed out that it illustrated the
difficulty in running a national lottery game. ’It is not as easy as
people think to get it right,’ he said.