Camelot CEO Nigel Railton has stated that he is ‘incredibly disappointed’ in the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) decision to award the fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn.
The decision will end what will be a 30-year stint as the incumbent of the National Lottery, having been the ever-present operator since it was formed in 1994.
Earlier today it was reported that the UKGC had named Czech-based Allwyn as the preferred applicant due to its commitment to investing in the lottery alongside its plans for growth and innovation.
However, Camelot was listed as the reserve applicant, leaving the door open for a potential challenge to the decision.
It must not be forgotten that Richard Branson’s Virgin was originally named the preferred applicant in 2000 before Camelot retained the licence following an appeal.
The current incumbent had come into criticism in recent months for its online instant games, with Labour MP Carolyn Harris calling upon the operator to remove any National Lottery branding from its portfolio, arguing that some products were similar to other ‘harmful’ forms of gambling.
She told the Observer in January: “The National Lottery is now unrecognisable from when it was launched. It is not acceptable that they are using what people trust as a brand for good causes to encourage people to gamble. It’s appalling.”
Following the UKGC’s decision this morning, a legal standstill of at least 10 days will begin, allowing Camelot or other applicants the opportunity to consider 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.
Addressing the announcement to Camelot’s stakeholders, Railton commented: “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.”