Camelot UK is set to lose its licence to operate the National Lottery as the UK Gambling Commission has today (March 15th) announced Allwyn Entertainment Ltd as its “preferred applicant” for the National Lottery’s next licence.
According to the Commission, it received the highest number of applications to run the National Lottery since the first licence was awarded in 1994, and Allwyn Entertainment, a UK-based subsidiary of European lottery operator Saska, is set to take over from Camelot – who has held the licence since 1994 – for the fourth National Lottery licence in 2024.
Speaking on its decision, the UK Gambling Commission explained that Allywn’s bid for the licence was committed to investment and innovation for the National Lottery and its channels and products, which would lead to “increased contributions to good causes”.
It also elaborated that Allwyn was chosen after the Commission completed an “open and robust competition which received four applications at the final stage”. It also said it was satisfied that all applicants were fit and proper to operate the National Lottery, and no application had been impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.
The announcement marks the first day of a legal standstill period that will last ten days. This will be followed by a 22-month transitional period in which Allwyn will take over from Camelot in operating the National Lottery.
Andrew Rhodes, the Gambling Commission Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement: “In its lifetime, the National Lottery has raised more than £45 billion for good causes and is rightly seen as a great national asset.
“Our priority was to run a competition that would attract a strong field of candidates. Having received the most applications since 1994, it is clear that we’ve achieved just that.”
He continued: “I am confident that the success of the competition will lead to a highly successful fourth licence – one that maximises returns to good causes, promotes innovation, delivers against our statutory duties, and which ultimately protects the unique status of the National Lottery.
“We look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth handover.”
Nigel Railton, the CEO at Camelot, issued a statement to City AM earlier today in which he expressed disappointment at the news, saying: “We still have a critical job to do – as our current licence runs until February 2024. We’re now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.
“I’m enormously grateful to our 1,000-plus employees who have been unwavering in delivering record-breaking results during their current licence. I know they remain absolutely determined to build on our four and a half years of successive sales growth – which has seen us achieve record sales in each of the last two years, resulting in the best-ever returns to Good Causes from ticket sales last year.”
A statement issued by Allwyn Entertainment on its website reads: “We welcome today’s statement by the Gambling Commission that we have been selected as the Preferred Applicant for the Fourth National Lottery Licence.
“Our proposal was judged to be the best way of growing returns to good causes by revitalising The National Lottery in a safe and sustainable way. The appointment of Allwyn will breathe fresh life into The National Lottery. In Allwyn, the Gambling Commission has selected a strong team with an impressive track record of improving lotteries.”
They added: “We will immediately work to deliver our comprehensive transition plan and look forward to transforming The National Lottery, making it better for everyone.”