For the first time since The National Lottery started, Camelot will not be Preferred Applicant for the National Lottery licence.
A legal battle has been issued by National Lottery operator, Camelot, against the Gambling Commission after it was revealed that Allwyn Entertainment UK was its Preferred Applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence – announced on 15 March.
This has certainly shaken things up as it means Camelot will lose its licence after 28 years once Allwyn Entertainment UK takes over in 2024. However, since the announcement, the process has been drawn to a halt while all outcomes are considered and feedbacked before more action is taken.
It was during this legal standstill period that Camelot issued legal proceedings against the Gambling Commission in regard to how the competition was ran.
“We are launching a legal challenge in our capacity as an applicant for the Fourth Licence because we firmly believe that the Gambling Commission has got this decision badly wrong. When we received the result, we were shocked by aspects of the decision.
“Despite lengthy correspondence, the Commission has failed to provide a satisfactory response. We are therefore left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened.
“Irrespective of Camelot’s dual roles as current operator and applicant for the next National Lottery licence, the competition is one of the largest UK government-sponsored procurements and the process deserves independent scrutiny. Separately, more than 1,000 Camelot employees work tirelessly to successfully operate The National Lottery under the current licence and, at the very least, they are owed a proper explanation.”
Nigel Railton, Camelot CEO
The Gambling Commission had this to say in response:
“The competition and our evaluation have been carried out fairly and lawfully in accordance with our statutory duties, and we are confident that a court would come to that conclusion.
“We are confident that we have run a fair and robust competition. We have taken every step possible to ensure a level playing field for all interested parties, to enable us to appoint a licensee who will engage and protect players, run the National Lottery with integrity and ensure the National Lottery continues to support good causes and their contribution to society.
“Our priority is to continue to work to implement our decision and ensure a seamless and timely transition to the next licence, for the benefit of participants and good causes. These proceedings will not help that but we trust that Camelot will honour its obligations as the current licensee to cooperate in that transition, and we will continue to use the tools available to us to facilitate that process.”
The Gambling Commission
The significance of this decision is rooted in the fact that the National Lottery has always been operated by Camelot since its launch in 1994. In those 28 years, players have raised more than £45 billion for 660,000 good causes across the UK, including £1.88bn in the pandemic year of 2020-1.
The Gambling Commission ran a competition to find the next licensee as the current licence will expire in 2024. There were four applicants, comprising of Allwyn, Sisal Spa, Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd, and The New Lottery Company Ltd – incidentally, they marked the highest number of applicants since the first one in 1994. Camelot was named Reserve Applicant in the process.
During the announcement of the winner back in March, the Gambling Commission stated Allwyn’s commitment to invest in the National Lottery and deliver growth and innovation across all aspects of the National Lottery’s products and channels, which’ll overall increase contributions to charitable causes, subject to the protection of participants and proprietary.