National Lottery Licence Decision Delayed Until February 2022

The Gambling Commission have announced a delay to the decision over who will be given the next National Lottery licence. This is the second time that the decision has been delayed and it’s not bad news for current holders Camelot.

It’s been decided to extend the time taken to make the choice after “representations” had been received by the bidders. There is a long list of companies that are keen to land the next 10-year licence.

The current list of bidders includes current holders Camelot, Northern & Shell, the Sazka Group from the Czech Republic, and Sisal from Italy (who run the SuperEnalotto lottery) who are working with BT. This means that the new licence will start from 1 February 2024.

The delay means Camelot will have a longer period of their current licence than expected. In turn, that will see them making more profits, estimated to be around £42 million. The first three months of this year saw a record £8.37 billion lottery sales. Camelot say their profit is around 1% of revenue from the various games they offer.

The decision on who will hold the next 10-year licence will now be announced in February 2022. The bidders are believed to have wanted to see the decision delayed. There has been a larger than expected degree of complexity in the process.

This sees the bidders submit their proposals to the Gambling Commission who then return feedback. Covid has of course been a factor. One of the bidders has had problems due to the international travel restrictions that have been in place.

The new timeline sees four weeks being added to phase two of the application process. There will also be a further six weeks needed for evaluation.

The Gambling Commission said: “Our job is to run the best competition we possibly can – one that is open and fair and results in the best outcome for players and good causes. We want to appoint a licensee that can build on the National Lottery’s legacy and find new opportunities for a sustainable and successful future.”

They added that “All dates are indicative and may evolve in line with market feedback and the continued national, and international, impact of COVID-19, all of which we are keeping under constant review.”

Camelot have been the licence holder since the National Lottery began in 1994. The new licence that is up for grabs will be a fixed 10-year term. There will be a focus on performance and incentive mechanism. The aim is to make sure that the incentives and delivery of the licence holder is closely aligned with the amount given to good causes.