UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has this morning formally launched its competition to award the ‘fourth National Lottery operating licence‘.

The current (third) GBP multi-billion contract serviced by Camelot Group will expire in 2023, as the UKGC and its advisory panel open its new concession to competitor proposals.

Launching its competition, the UKGC underlined that it will award its licence to the incumbent that “maximises the opportunities for players and good causes to benefit from innovation and creativity, whilst protecting the National Lottery’s unique status.

Neil McArthur, UKGC Chief Executive, said: “The National Lottery is a national treasure. It has a reputation for providing enjoyable games and a high degree of player protection, as well as a rich history of prize giving and returns to good causes. We are determined to protect and build on the reputation of the National Lottery.

“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-focused 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.

The UKGC underlined four key conditions added to its fourth operating licence, which will be awarded for a ‘fixed operating term of 10-years’ – allowing the licensee to secure a clear period for investment planning.

A ‘focus on performance’ is outlined as a key directive, in which the incumbent must provide greater transparency on how funds are raised for good causes to protect the National Lottery’s integrity and reputation.

Competing incumbents will also have to propose an ‘incentive mechanism’ ensuring that the licensee’s delivery of customer rewards is closely aligned with the lottery’s mandate of creating greater returns for good causes.

The UKGC’s final condition relates to ‘protecting the brand’, with a requirement to foster the strongest relationship possible with distributors of National Lottery funding – ‘strengthening the link between the National Lottery brand, its players and good causes’.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The National Lottery has been at the cornerstone of communities across the UK for 25 years. In this time, National Lottery players have raised £41bn for good causes, supporting arts, sport, heritage and communities and transforming people’s lives. We welcome a strong competition to ensure this success continues for years to come.”

Working alongside DCMS, the UKGC stated that it has been working on its competition framework since 2018, undertaking global market engagement to hear from businesses and investors interested in participating in the future of the National Lottery.

Further research directives saw the UKGC and DCMS consult UK media, technology, telecoms and retail enterprises, receiving diverse input on how innovation and new technologies could unlock new opportunities for the National Lottery raising money for good causes.

DCMS Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston said: “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 UKGC concluded its statement by detailing that interested parties have been officially invited to take part in the ‘first formal stage of the competition’.

Applicants that pass the opening process will receive an ‘Invitation to Apply (ITA)‘ and supporting documents in order to begin preparing their application. The UKGC aims to announce its winning incumbent in September 2021.

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