The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is reported to favour Camelot Group maintaining its position as steward of the National Lottery.
The Daily Telegraph, this morning reported that the Commission would notify to PM Boris Johnson that “the current operator as the best incumbent to manage government’s lucrative contract”.
Camelot has served as the operating company of the National Lottery since its inception in 1993, having been awarded the inaugural operating contract by John Major’s government.
The Commission’s recommendation follows Camelot scoring the highest marks in a ‘scorecard report’ judging the merits of bids submitted by Camelot and competition rivals Allwyn UK, Sisal and Northern-&-Shell.
DCMS Secretary Nadine Dorries has been informed of the Commission’s favoured choice. Her department is expected to announce the winning bid of the Fourth National Lottery Competition later this month – though no fixed date has been established.
The Telegraph reports that officials are on “high alert over the highly sensitive process” – as losing parties will likely launch a High Court challenge to contest the outcome of the UK government’s decision.
The deep-pocketed suitors of Allwyn and Sisal have spent millions of pounds developing their bids and high-profile advisories to replace Camelot in 2024 as the operator of the National Lottery.
The stakes could not be higher on the government’s pending decision, as this month Allwyn announced that it had agreed to merge with former Goldman Sachs Global COO Gary Cohn SPAC vehicle that will list Allwyn on NYSE, targeting a +$9 billion valuation.
Meanwhile, bid rival Sisal awaits to complete its £2 billion takeover by FTSE100 Flutter Entertainment that aims to add a lottery unit to its ever-expanding gambling portfolio.
The Fourth Lottery Competition has witnessed the fiercest challenge to Camelot’s 30-year reign as National Lottery steward. Camelot had been publicly criticised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of generating record profits whilst diminishing returns to good causes.
Industry observers state that future tender bids will be unlikely should the UK government maintain its contract with Camelot – in what has become an all-or-nothing scenario for the National Lottery’s suitors.