Camelot To Fight For Lost Lottery Licence In Court

April 4, 2022
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​​​​​​​Camelot has launched a legal appeal against the Gambling Commission’s decision to award the UK National Lottery tender to Allwyn.

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Camelot has launched a legal appeal against the Gambling Commission’s decision to award the UK National Lottery tender to Allwyn.

On Friday (April 1), Camelot said it “firmly” believes the Gambling Commission has “got this decision badly wrong” and was “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,” Camelot said.

The operator said that despite it being the current operator and an applicant for the next National Lottery licence, the fact it is one of the most potentially lucrative UK government-sponsored procurements means the process deserves independent scrutiny.

“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,” Camelot said.

The Gambling Commission quickly responded with its own public statement, saying it “regrets” the operator’s legal action and warned the proceedings “will not help”.

“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,” the Gambling Commission said.

The regulator’s priority is to continue to work towards implementing its decision to award Allwyn the licence to ensure there is a smooth transition to the new operator to avoid any situation that has an impact on the National Lottery’s ability to raise funds for good causes.

“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 said.

Due to the ongoing legal process, the regulator will not “discuss the specifics until litigation has concluded”.

On March 15, Allwyn was announced as the preferred applicant, with Camelot chosen as a reserve applicant.

Since then, the Gambling Commission said it had entered into a “legal standstill period”, which allows applicants to consider the outcome of the competition and provides them with feedback on their application, prior to the commission entering into further legal arrangements with the preferred applicant.

Prior to the announcement, some major media outlets incorrectly reported Camelot would be selected as the preferred applicant.

Four bids made it to the final round of the application process, the highest number of applications since the first National Lottery licence was awarded in 1994.

The other two main bids came from UK-based operator Flutter via Italian operator Sisal and Richard Desmond, the former owner of the Express and Star newspapers who runs the Health Lottery.

Sources had previously told VIXIO GamblingCompliance they expected Camelot to appeal the decision.

In 2000, the company successfully challenged the decision to award the licence to Richard Branson’s People’s Postcode Lottery.

Richard Williams, gambling and licensing lawyer at Keystone Law, told VIXIO GamblingCompliance he was not shocked by Camelot’s announcement, adding that he would expect Allwyn to have done the same had it lost.

“Given the significant amount of profit at stake (Camelot made £95.2m profit from the National Lottery in 2020/2021) it’s got to be worth the cost of seeking a judicial review of the selection process through the courts,” Williams said.

However, the lawyer said it is too early to know whether or not Camelot has a strong case or not, as the commission’s deliberations have not been made public yet.

UK trade group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) does not represent Camelot and declined to comment on the dispute.

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