Julian Knight MP, the Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, has accused the UK Gambling Commission of attempting to block an inquiry into the agency’s role as the National Lottery regulator, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Knight lambasted the agency, claiming that the alleged block was “unprecedented” after it sent him a letter saying that any inquiry would pose a ‘significant risk’ to the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition.
The tender, which is being run by the Commission, is being contested by Camelot, Italy’s SISAL, India’s Sugal & Damani, and the Czech Republic’s SAZKA Group under the UK identity of Allwyn.
As reported in FT, the chair of the commission wrote in a letter to Knight that “it would pose significant risk to the integrity of the competition if the Gambling Commission, any of the applicants, or anyone directly involved in the competition in any way, were to provide evidence to the inquiry at this sensitive stage of the competition”.
Knight has responded publicly, lamenting the response, saying it is ‘potentially a contempt of Parliament.” He added he was ‘seriously considering’ calling the commission into Parliament to explain the letter.
The Conservative MP for Solihull announced in July that his committee planned to examine the role of the Gambling Commission concerning its regulation of the National Lottery.
The Gambling Commission issued a statement reading: “Our priority is to run a fair and open competition, in which applicants compete on a level playing field. As part of this, all parties directly involved in the competition must adhere to strict confidentiality protocols that seek to protect the integrity and fairness of the process and maintain competitive tension,
The winner of the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition will be announced in February 2022, with a two-year transition period leading to a changeover in February 2024.