UK Regulator Denies Selecting National Lottery Favourite

February 11, 2022
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The Gambling Commission has denied media reports that it has already recommended to the UK government that operator Camelot should be awarded the ongoing national lottery tender.

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The Gambling Commission has denied media reports that it has already recommended to the UK government that operator Camelot should be awarded the ongoing national lottery tender.

The claim the Gambling Commission recommended Camelot be awarded “preferred bidder” status first appeared in a Telegraph article on February 9, without naming any sources.

In response to what the regulator called the “inaccurate” article, the Gambling Commission put out a statement saying it was “still in the process of evaluation”.

The Daily Telegraph “piece is simply based on false and inaccurate information. We have asked them to remove the article in its current form from the newspaper's website,” the Gambling Commission said.

Camelot is the current operator of the UK National Lottery; however, it is facing competition from Czech operator Allwyn (Sazka), as well as Richard Desmond, the former owner of the Express and Star newspapers who runs the Health Lottery.

UK-based operator Flutter has also confirmed its desire to run the National Lottery through Italian operator Sisal, which it agreed to acquire for €1.91bn (£1.62b) in December 2021.

The government has a parliamentary window of February 21 and March 31 to make an announcement on the winner to the public.

A six-month licence extension was granted to Camelot in August 2021 after the Gambling Commission announced it would extend the timeline for its second phase, the application stage, of the ongoing fourth National Lottery licence competition.

The evaluation stage was also extended by another six weeks to allow applicants to “refine their proposals” and to give the regulator more time to come to the right decision, it said.

Separately, the minister in charge of gambling, Chris Philp, told fellow MP Ronnie Cowan in parliament he would not have to “wait much longer” for the Gambling Act white paper, saying it was “very close now”.

Philp’s comments come as stories in the UK press appeared on February 7 claiming the white paper had been delayed again.

Philp said the document would be ready “in the coming months” in December, but gave no fixed timeline and there remains no target date for its publication, which sources have told VIXIO calls into question whether the white paper can be said to be “delayed” at all.

Previous reports had also suggested the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DMCS) may wait to publish until after the conclusion of the contest to choose the next operator of the UK National Lottery.

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