The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has named Allwyn as its preferred candidate for the fourth National Lottery licence, breaking the 30-year incumbency period of Camelot.
Ending what the UKGC labelled as a ‘fair, open and robust competition’, Allwyn came out on top due to its commitment to investing in the National Lottery and its expectation to deliver ‘growth and innovation’ across its products.
Andrew Rhodes, UKGC’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “In its lifetime, the National Lottery has raised more than £45bn for good causes and is rightly seen as a great national asset.
“Our priority was to run a competition that would attract a strong field of candidates. Having received the most applications since 1994, it is clear that we’ve achieved just that.
“I am confident that the success of the competition will lead to a highly successful fourth licence – one that maximises returns to good causes, promotes innovation, delivers against our statutory duties, and which ultimately protects the unique status of the National Lottery. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth handover.”
The Czech-Republic-based Allwyn defeated the current, and only, incumbent Camelot, as well as Italy’s Sisal Spa and The New Lottery Company. Despite losing out on the contract it has held since 1994, Camelot has been named as the reserve applicant.
Allwyn’s victory marks a key event in the firm’s modern history, fresh off the back of a rebrand from Sazka Entertainment that was mainly driven by the desire to become a global lottery brand.
Currently, it operates a Pan-European portfolio of lotteries including its flagship SAZKA (Czech Rep), OPAP (Greece and Cyprus), Lotteries Austria and Lotto ‘Gioco’ Italia.
Furthermore, in January the firm secured a $9.3bn transaction to become publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange in partnership with Cohn Robbins Holding Corp, again reiterating its global ambitions.
Taking to its website to comment on its victory, an Allwyn statement read: “We welcome today’s statement by the Gambling Commission that we have been selected as the Preferred Applicant for the Fourth National Lottery Licence.
“Our proposal was judged to be the best way of growing returns to good causes by revitalising The National Lottery in a safe and sustainable way.
“The appointment of Allwyn will breathe fresh life into The National Lottery. In Allwyn, the Gambling Commission has selected a strong team with an impressive track record of improving lotteries. We will immediately work to deliver our comprehensive transition plan and look forward to transforming The National Lottery, making it better for everyone.”
Following this morning’s landmark decision, a legal standstill of at least 10 days will begin, allowing any applicants the opportunity to consider or challenge the outcome of the competition before the Commission enters formal proceedings with Allwyn.
Responding to the announcement, Camelot expressed its disappointment in this morning’s announcement, asserting that it will ‘carefully review’ the Commission’s process in the coming days.
The firm’s CEO Nigel Railton remarked: “I’m incredibly disappointed by today’s announcement, but we still have a critical job to do – as our current licence runs until February 2024. We’re now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.
“I’m enormously grateful to our 1,000-plus employees who have been unwavering in delivering record-breaking results during the current licence. And I know they remain absolutely determined to build on our four and a half years of successive sales growth – which has seen us achieve record sales in each of the last two years, resulting in the best-ever returns to Good Causes from ticket sales last year.”
Camelot’s current licence expires in February 2024 and, after the legal standstill period, there will be a 22-month handover period to ensure a smooth transition between operators.
John Tanner, UKGC’s Executive Director and Senior Responsible Owner for the competition, concluded: “The Commission is grateful to all four applicants for their engagement in the competition. We were impressed by the overall standard of applications, including the range and quality of innovation proposed, and the high level of confidence and ambition demonstrated for the prospects of the National Lottery under the fourth licence.”