Allwyn UK will be allowed to begin the transition process to become the new operating company of the National Lottery.
Yesterday afternoon, parent company Allwyn Entertainment AG announced that Camelot Group had withdrawn its appeal of enabling rights granted by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to Allwyn UK.
The appeal formed part of Camelot UK and IGT Plc’s High Court challenge of the UKGC’s decision to appoint Allwyn as the preferred applicant of the Fourth Licence to operate the National Lottery.
Announced in March, Allwyn had begun to prepare the transition of duties to become the next steward of the National Lottery beginning 1 January 2024.
However, on 29 June, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Camelot and IGT’s appeal to suspend the Fourth Licence’s enabling rights, preventing the UKGC from entering a transition process with Allwyn until the High Court challenge is concluded.
The UKGC had stated that the enabling rights should be respected, as the transfer of National Lottery duties required a minimum period of 2-years – with the technical process beginning no later than July 2022.
Significantly, a delay in the transfer of duties could have led to a suspension of the National Lottery in 2024, obstructing funding for good causes.
Yesterday afternoon, Allwyn Entertainment notified media that Camelot Group had withdrawn its appeal to suspend enabling rights. In response, Allwyn has waived all claims to costs and damages against made Camelot.
A corporate statement read: “Allwyn welcomes this decision and looks forward to cooperating with Camelot and the Gambling Commission on the transition process. Allwyn is excited at the prospect of becoming the custodian of Europe’s biggest lottery.”
In September, the High Court of England and Wales will begin hearings related to Camelot and IGT’s challenge of how the UKGC ran the Fourth Licence competition and whether the regulator had changed rules to favour Allwyn’s bid.
Taking questions from a DCMS oversight committee, former gambling minister Chris Philp disclosed that Camelot and IGT would demand compensation of £600m for losing the government contract.
This morning, Camelot issued the following statement: “By pursuing the opportunity to be awarded the fourth licence, Camelot has sought to limit the risk that Good Causes or the Exchequer would have to meet damages if the licence award was found by a Court to have been unlawful.
“However, it has become clear that the potential damages covered by the undertakings needed for the appeal to proceed would have been too large, and involved too great a commercial risk, for it to be reasonable to provide them.
“For that reason, Camelot has decided to withdraw its appeal in relation to the lifting of the suspension and Allwyn has agreed not to pursue any damages against Camelot in relation to the undertakings given in July. Camelot is no longer seeking to prevent the Enabling Agreement being signed prior to the Procurement Trial which will now take place in January/February.
“In accordance with its duties as the operator of the third Lottery licence, Camelot will now cooperate with Allwyn and the Gambling Commission to facilitate an orderly transition to the fourth licence.”