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Camelot loses out to Allwyn in UK National Lottery bid

15th March 2022 7:57 am GMT
National Lottery

Allwyn Entertainment is set to be the next operator of the UK National Lottery after being named the preferred applicant by the Gambling Commission Tuesday (March 15).

Allwyn has been selected as the preferred applicant over rival bidders Sisal and The New Lottery Company, with incumbent operator Camelot Lotteries selected as the reserve applicant.

The Gambling Commission said that Allwyn has committed to investing in the National Lottery to deliver growth and innovation across the Lottery’s products and channels, resulting in increased contributions to good causes, subject to the protection of participants and propriety.

“Our priority was to run a competition that would attract a strong field of candidates. Having received the most applications since 1994, it is clear that we've achieved just that,” said Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission chief executive.

“I am confident that the success of the competition will lead to a highly successful fourth licence – one that maximises returns to good causes, promotes innovation, delivers against our statutory duties, and which ultimately protects the unique status of the National Lottery. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth handover.”

Camelot has operated the UK National Lottery since its inception in 1994.

The selection of Allwyn as the preferred applicant triggers a 10-day legal standstill period that will be followed by a 22-month transition towards the fourth licence.

“The Commission is grateful to all four applicants for their engagement in the competition,” said John Tanner, Gambling Commission executive director and senior responsible owner for the competition. “We were impressed by the overall standard of applications, including the range and quality of innovation proposed, and the high level of confidence and ambition demonstrated for the prospects of the National Lottery under the fourth licence.”

Allwyn, a division of Sazka Group, operates lotteries in Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus, and Italy.

“We welcome today’s statement by the Gambling Commission that we have been selected as the Preferred Applicant for the Fourth National Lottery Licence,” the company said Tuesday. “Our 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.

“The appointment of Allwyn will breathe fresh life into The National Lottery. In Allwyn, the Gambling Commission has selected a strong team with an impressive track record of improving lotteries. We will immediately work to deliver our comprehensive transition plan and look forward to transforming The National Lottery, making it better for everyone.”

Allwyn Entertainment announced plans in January to go public on the New York Stock Exchange through a business combination with special purpose acquisition company Cohn Robbins Holdings Corp, with the transaction valuing Allwyn at an enterprise value of approximately $9.3bn.

Commenting on the Gambling Commission's decision, Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton 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. We’re now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.

“I’m enormously grateful to our 1,000-plus employees who have been unwavering in delivering record-breaking results during the current licence. And I know they remain absolutely determined to build on our four and a half years of successive sales growth – which has seen us achieve record sales in each of the last two years, resulting in the best-ever returns to Good Causes from ticket sales last year.”

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