DCMS to host National Lottery funding hearing amid Camelot performance criticism

The Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) is set to host a community hearing tomorrow as the first part of the evaluation process of the National Lottery licence competition
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The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is set to host a community hearing tomorrow as part of the evaluation process of the National Lottery licence competition. 

The hearing, titled “What Next for the National Lottery?”, will receive in-person evidence on the performance of the current licence holders, Camelot UK.

A DCMS statement read: “The committee is examining the National Lottery licence competition process amidst criticism that the current operators, Camelot, have increased profits at a faster rate than funding for good causes.”

Camelot’s performance will be examined with regards to “gambling-related harm and whether there is enough recognition that playing the lottery is a form of gambling”.

The governmental department stated that it required evidence on whether the National Lottery had held its responsibilities in clearly pointing out the potential dangers of gambling, as the UK’s most common form of gambling participation.

Team GB athletes will provide evidence of their lived experiences of the National Lottery’s funding including three-time Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Adam Peaty, Paralympic Gold medalist rower Lauren Rowles and the Paralympic Swimmer Ellie Robinson.

Following this, a panel of experts will provide oral evidence including Anna Powell-Smith, Founder of the Centre for Public Data and Dr Sasha Stark, Senior Researcher of the Responsible Gambling Council providing feedback on Camelot’s fundraising performance and conduct duties. 

Camelot has vowed to improve its funding performance following cross-party criticism, citing a 2017 National Audit Office report which revealed just a 2% rise in returns for good causes whilst the firm reported a 127% increase in corporate profits.

Additionally, Camelot was criticised by Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE for failing to immediately increase the age-play of its lottery and scratchcard products to 18-plus as standard for the UK’s gambling rules.

Longfield’s criticism followed news reports that children aged 16-to-17 had spent £47m on National Lottery games, amid wider concerns that 55,000 children aged 11-16 were classified with gambling disorders.

The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed that it has received four applications for the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition, with the winner set to be announced in February 2022 and the licence beginning in February 2024.