Gambling Commission announces new preferred candidate
By Kate Northrop
Today the United Kingdom's Gambling Commission announced their intentions to drop Camelot as the operator of the National Lottery, to be replaced by Czech company Allwyn Entertainment.
Camelot will not have its licensed renewed to run the National Lottery after 28 years. Instead, a new operator is set to take the helm.
Since the Lottery's inception in 1994, Camelot has held three licenses, with its current and third license set to expire in 2024, and has seen the Lottery raise over £45 billion (US$58.8 billion) for 600,000 good causes across the nation.
"In its lifetime, the National Lottery has raised more than £45 billion for good causes and is rightly seen as a great national asset," Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said. "Our priority was to run a competition that would attract a strong field of candidates. Having received the more applications since 1994, it is clear we've achieved just that."
The bid to run the National Lottery was hotly contested. It came down to four applications at the final selection stage.
"Allwyn has committed to investment in the National Lottery that is expected to deliver growth and innovation across the National Lottery's products and channels, resulting in increased contributions to good causes, subject to the protection of participants and propriety," the Gambling Commission said in a press release today.
Allwyn was previously known as Sazka but rebranded their name under a more anglicized one.
The other three applicants were Sisal Spa, Camelot UK Lotteries Ltd., and The New Lottery Company Ltd. While Camelot was not selected as the "Preferred Applicant," it was named "Reserve Applicant."
"The National Lottery is a national treasure, and we are honored to have been chosen as its future custodian," Sir Keith Mills, who primarily ran Allwyn's bid in the race, said in a statement today. "With the Gambling Commission having put its trust in us, we can immediately start to enact our exciting plans to deliver The National Lottery back to the heart of our country. We will do this by rekindling the meaning The National Lottery has for each of us, whether as individuals or as part of the communities we live in; whether we play The National Lottery or not."
Starting February 1, 2024, Allwyn will be responsible for the Lottery's day-to-day operations. As of now, the company is focused on working on a comprehensive transition plan led to ensure a smooth handover from the current operator.
"I'm incredibly disappointed by today's announcement, but we still have a critical job to do — as our current license runs until February 2024," Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said. "We're now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission's evaluation before deciding on our next steps."