End of the Road for Camelot

The National Lottery was launched in 1994. Throughout the last 28 years, there has only been one company given the licence to run the lottery and other games. That will change in 2024 after Allwyn Entertainment Ltd were announced as the preferred applicant to be given the next National Lottery license.

The decision was announced today by the UK Gambling Commission. Camelot have been named the ‘reserve applicant’ but it looks as if in two years their time running the National Lottery will be over.

The chief executive of Camelot is Nigel Railton. Making comment on the news that they will not be awarded the next licence, he 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.

He added that Camelot will now be “carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.”

In the 28 years that Camelot have held the licence to run the National Lottery, they have raised over £45 billion for 660,000 causes all around the UK. They have also given grants to many sporting competitors who have enjoyed medal success at the Olympics and Paralympics.

Who are Allywn? Well, they are based in the UK and a subsidiary of Sazka, who are Europe’s largest lottery operators and soon to get even larger. They are owned by the Czech oil and gas tycoon Karel Komarek.

Their decision to apply for the new National Lottery licence was announced last year. Former Olympic gold medallist Lord Coe is on their advisory board, as is the entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills.

The view of Allwyn is that they will “breathe fresh life into the National Lottery” when taking over in 2024. They believe that their 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”.

Andrew Rhodes is the chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission. It’s been a long process deciding on who their preferred candidate will be. The pandemic of course helped delay their decision.

Speaking about the decision, he said: “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.”

Also in the running for the National Lottery licence were Sisal Spa (who won the Italian SuperEnalotto lottery) and The New Lottery Company Ltd. This was the most applicants for a National Lottery licence since the original one was granted in 1994.