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UK begins fourth National Lottery licensing process

28th August 2020 8:27 am GMT
UK National Lottery

The UK Gambling Commission has today launched the competition for the fourth National Lottery licence.

The current licence to operate the lottery will expire in 2023 and the commission expects to announce its preferred applicant for the fourth licence in September 2021.

The UK National Lottery is currently the fifth largest lottery in the world and has been operated by Camelot since its inception in 1994.

The fourth National Lottery licence will be for a fixed 10-year term and the successful applicant will be expected to maximise returns to good causes, with licensee incentives closely tied to returns.

The initial stage of the application process begins today (August 28), with those selected set to receive an invitation to apply alongside supporting documentation for the application process in October.

“Today, the competition for the fourth National Lottery licence begins. Over the last quarter of a century, it has made an unprecedented contribution to communities across the UK and has made a difference to the lives of millions,” said Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive.

“For the fourth licence, we will be evolving our approach to regulation to build on the National Lottery’s huge successes. In line with our outcomes-focussed approach to regulation, we want the next licensee to have greater autonomy to meet the needs of players in 2023 and beyond, whilst ensuring there is clear accountability for the performance of the National Lottery.

“Throughout our market engagement, we have been encouraged by a healthy level of interest from a range of different parties and we look forward to running a competitive process,” McArthur added.

The application process for the fourth licence was due to begin in May but was delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with prospective bidders expected to include incumbent Camelot and European lotteries operator Sazka.

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage, commented: “The National Lottery has a positive impact on communities right across the UK, supporting thousands of good causes as well as the sectors that brighten up our lives including the arts, culture, heritage and sport. The fourth licence competition will secure the National Lottery's future combining safe play with life-changing prizes. Most importantly it will help raise billions more pounds to benefit people's lives in villages, towns and cities throughout the country.”

The initial selection process will run from today through to October, with those selected receiving an invitation to apply before the deadline of July 2021. The preferred applicant will be selected in September 2021 and awarded the licence in October 2021. There will then be a transition period through to July 2023, with the fourth licence coming into force in August 2023.

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