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National Lottery Licence Set To Change Hands

Last Updated: Tuesday 15th March 2022, 12:02

Allwyn Entertainment Ltd has been named as the preferred applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence. The announcement by the Gambling Commission heralds the end of an era for Camelot, which has run the National Lottery since it started in 1994 but is now set to pass over operations in 2024. 

The competition to be the next licence holder also included Sisal Spa and The New Lottery Company Ltd - the highest number of applications in the final stage of the process since the first licence was awarded in 1994. Camelot has been named as the ‘reserve applicant’.

The Gambling Commission’s priority was to attract a strong field of candidates, and it is confident its decision 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.”

The National Lottery has raised more than £45 billion for 660,000 good causes since it started in 1994, and Allwyn’s job as its new organiser will be to raise even more money for worthy projects across the UK.

In a statement welcoming the announcement, Allwyn said: “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. We will immediately work to deliver our comprehensive transition plan and look forward to transforming The National Lottery, making it better for everyone.”

Allwyn was set up specifically for the National Lottery tender process, as a UK-based branch of its wider company Sazka. Its board includes Seb Coe and Sir Keith Mills - both former members of the London 2012 Olympics organising committee.

Sazka is Europe’s largest lottery operator, running games in Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and the Czech Republic. It is owned by Czech oil and gas tycoon Karel Komarek. The Gambling Commission made clear that all applicants were fit and proper to run the UK National Lottery, and would not be impacted by sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine.

Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said: "I'm incredibly disappointed by today's announcement, but 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."

Following the announcement there will be a 10-day legal standstill so that applicants can consider the outcome and give feedback, then a 22-month transition will begin until the handover is complete in February 2024.

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