Gambling Commission announces competition for National Lotto licence

The Gambling Commission has announced the launch of a competitive tender process that will result in the awarding of the fourth National Lottery licence.

With the current licence set to expire in 2023, the fourth licence award will look to build on the success of the National Lottery that has seen it, since its 1994 launch, collectively raise over £41bn for 565,000 good causes across the UK.

This will be achieved through the creation of a framework 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, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “Today, the competition for the fourth National Lottery licence begins. Over the last quarter of a century, it has made an unprecedented contribution to communities across the UK and has made a difference to the lives of millions. 

“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-focussed 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. 

“Throughout our market engagement, we have been encouraged by a healthy level of interest from a range of different parties and we look forward to running a competitive process.” 

Key changes for the fourth licence will include a fixed 10-year licence, which would mean that the licensee has a clear period for investment planning and a focus on performance through the provision of greater flexibility to maximise returns to good causes, hand-in-hand with ensuring safe and fair play.

Moreover, a new incentive mechanism will ensure the licensee’s incentives and delivery are closely aligned with returns to good causes, and brand protection will be introduced with the licensee now required to foster stronger relationships with the distributors of National Lottery funding to further strengthen the link between the National Lottery brand, its players, and good causes.

Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston commented: “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.” 

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, and Chair of The National Lottery Forum, added: “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.”