UK National Lottery Transition Officially Underway

September 21, 2022
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The process to hand over the reins of the UK National Lottery has officially started, according to the UK’s gambling regulator.

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The process to hand over the reins of the UK National Lottery has officially started, according to the UK’s gambling regulator.

The Gambling Commission said on Tuesday (September 20) that it had entered an “enabling agreement” with Allwyn to allow it to take over the running of the National Lottery from 2024. Camelot, which has operated the draw since its inception in 1994, will lose control of the lottery.

Camelot had launched several legal challenges in an attempt to disrupt or even reverse the Gambling Commission’s decision to award Allwyn the contract, but last month confirmed it had dropped a High Court appeal that was blocking the transition. A judge had ruled in July that the process should remain frozen until the case could be heard.

Gambling industry supplier International Game Technology (IGT) had launched a matching appeal to support its customer Camelot.

After a delay that kept the transition on hold for a number of days, IGT quietly cancelled its own appeal, as reported by VIXIO GamblingCompliance last week.

Free from these legal shackles, the commission said Allwyn had now “officially” been awarded the fourth National Lottery licence and the handover process would begin. The Czech-headquartered firm will take over the lottery from February 1, 2024.

“Our priority is to ensure a seamless and timely transition to the next licence, for the benefit of participants and good causes. We have begun meetings between the commission, Allwyn and Camelot as the outgoing licensee, who we are confident will honour their obligations as the current licensee to cooperate in that transition,” the regulator said in a statement.

Allwyn promised to both lower ticket prices and more than double returns to good causes in its entry into the contest for the fourth licence.

Camelot complained that these promises were unrealistic and were over-weighted by the commission, and although the company has dropped its appeal, it is still taking the regulator to court in a case expected to be heard next year that could see the company awarded damages.

The commission has said that changes to the new concession will see operator profits tied more closely to returns to good causes. It is also giving Allwyn “greater responsibility to fulfil its obligations, while retaining the commission’s power to intervene if they do not”.

Allwyn will also be more free to make changes to its products than Camelot was before, as part of the ten-year licence, the commission said.

“We are pleased to have officially awarded the fourth licence to Allwyn following a highly successful competition and the court’s decision to lift the suspension on the award process. We now look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth and efficient handover,” said Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission chief executive.

“I am confident that Allwyn and the key changes for the fourth licence will maximise returns to good causes, promote innovation, deliver against our statutory duties and ultimately protect the unique status of the National Lottery.”

In its own press release on Tuesday, Allwyn said it would be partnering with Scientific Games, a major rival of IGT, as its supplier, along with British telecoms company Vodafone.

The company has opened an office in Watford, a town close to London, near where lottery operators are currently headquartered.

“Today’s award formally marks a fresh start for the National Lottery,” said Justin King, chairman of Allwyn Entertainment Limited, the UK-subsidiary of Allwyn AG that will hold the National Lottery licence.

“Everyone at Allwyn is ready to meet the challenge of working under a shortened timeframe for transition. We look forward to working closely with Camelot’s team over the coming months to ensure the lottery is in its best ever shape when we take the reins in February 2024,” he said.  

Allwyn Entertainment CEO David Craven said: “We must seize this moment, creating the right conditions for the National Lottery to innovate. Our primary transition objective is to responsibly boost performance leading to increased contributions to good causes. We look forward to welcoming the existing Camelot colleagues in Watford to be part of this new, exciting chapter.”

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