The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been allowed to proceed with awarding the National Lottery’s operating contract to Allwyn Entertainment UK.
In May, Camelot UK – the incumbent operating firm of the National Lottery – had filed a High Court lawsuit against the UKGC awarding the Fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn – which had been chosen as the ‘Preferred Applicant’ of the government’s multi-billion-pound contract.
Responding to Camelot’s legal challenge, the UKGC applied for a High Court assurance that it could begin its ‘enabling agreement’ with Allwyn to commence the transfer of National Lottery duties.
The Commission had submitted evidence by John Tanner, the Executive Director of the Fourth National Lottery Competition, that stated that Allwyn must be guaranteed a minimum two-year period to take over management of the National Lottery.
Citing a ‘tight timetable’ to meet its 2024 deadline, Tanner outlined that transfer procedures must begin by June/July regardless of Camelot’s High Court challenge.
Camelot’s legal proceedings were branded as a ‘prejudice on Allwyn‘, which cannot proceed with essential steps to begin the Fourth Licence.
This morning, the UKGC confirmed that the High Court would place no restrictions on the work required to appoint Allwyn as the new steward of the National Lottery.
“Our priority is to continue to work to implement our decision and ensure a seamless and timely transition to the next licence, for the benefit of participants and good causes.” – read the UKGC’s statement.
Moving forward, the Commission outlined confidence that it would refute Camelot’s claims against how it handled its duties managing the competition.
Camelot has accused the UKGC of providing no viable explanation as to why its bid was rejected, having secured the highest ‘scorecard results’ during the competition’s evaluation phase of participants.
Furthermore, the Commission is accused of changing the rules and conditions related to how participant bids were evaluated to favour Allwyn’s submission.
“We remain resolute that we have run a fair and robust competition, and that our evaluation has been carried out fairly and lawfully in accordance with our statutory duties,” the Commission responded.
“We have taken every step possible to ensure a level playing field for all interested parties, to enable us to appoint a licensee who will engage and protect players, run the National Lottery with integrity and ensure the National Lottery maximises support for good causes and its contribution to society through further innovation and investment.”
Allwyn issued the following statement of the High Court’s ruling: “Today’s ruling is good news for The National Lottery; it enables the Gambling Commission to move forward to award Allwyn the Fourth National Lottery Licence. Mrs. Justice O’Farrell was clear that the public interest, and in particular the impact on good causes, was a strong factor in her judgment.
“Her decision paves the way for the transition to Allwyn, the winner of the Fourth Licence Competition, serving The National Lottery as its operator from February 2024; kickstarting a transformation programme that brings an enhanced games portfolio, new technologies, provisions for safer play, and a substantial increase in returns to good causes.