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Hunt Begins For New National Lottery Operator

Last Updated: Monday 21st January 2019, 11:20 am

The UK Gambling Commission is in the process of conducting ‘initial market engagement’ as the long road towards making a decision about the future of the National Lottery begins. Camelot’s current licence as operator expires in 2023 and potential bidders are now being sought who could tap into the potential for growth.

Camelot has run the National Lottery since it was launched in 1994, winning a second licence in 2002 and another in 2009. That latest agreement was then extended until 2023, but the government is now preparing to retender and wants to hear from any interested businesses or investors.

A statement from the Gambling Commission read: “We view the next licence as an opportunity for existing lottery operators and/or new entrants to be creative and innovative, and, in short, sustain and build on one of the world’s best lotteries.”

‘Relevant and Attractive To All Parts Of Society’

The statement continued: “The context for the National Lottery has changed since the third licence was awarded. For example, technology based products and services have been widely introduced and continue to change rapidly.

“We want to explore opportunities for innovation and flexibility for the fourth licence and we want to ensure that the National Lottery is relevant and attractive to all parts of society, in line with our priorities and statutory duties.”

The initial market consultation exercise will continue until the end of January, before feedback is given to the market in February. The plan is then to enter into more detailed discussions over the coming months, with the aim ro run a ‘fair, open and robust competition’.

The main duties of the lottery will continue to be to provide returns to good causes and protect players, building on everything that has been achieved over the past 25 years. Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur says he is ready to ‘look globally for the best ideas… in a world where communications are 24-hour and technology continues to change at an increasingly fast pace’.

The National Lottery’s Impact

The National Lottery has made a huge impact since 1994, creating more than 5,000 millionaires, giving away more than £67 billion in prizes and raising more than £39 billion for good causes. More than 535,000 projects have been supported, helping to benefit a wide range of sectors. National Lottery funding has been a major factor behind Team GB’s Olympic success in recent years, while the money has also gone towards essential health research, education, the environment, charitable causes, arts and heritage projects.

The evolution of the National Lottery has seen the choice of games on offer become far broader, with players now able to enjoy EuroMillions, Thunderball and various types of HotPicks, in addition to the original Lotto game. A new annuity lottery, Set For Life, will also be launched in March.

It remains to be seen how the National Lottery will change over the next few years, but the government is confident that there is still room to grow beyond 2023 and interested bidders will now be contemplating their next move. will have all the key updates as the process continues.

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