Camelot CEO Nigel Railton has blasted the UK Gambling Commission’s decision to name Allwyn as the preferred applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence, announcing that the current operator will take the regulator to High Court for the ‘badly wrong’ decision.
Issuing a statement to stakeholders, Railton painted his ‘shock’ upon hearing the outcome of the Commission’s announcement, adding that a legal challenge is required as the process deserves ‘independent scrutiny’.
He wrote: “We are launching a legal challenge today in our capacity as an applicant for the Fourth Licence because we firmly believe that the Gambling Commission has got this decision badly wrong. When we received the result, we were shocked by aspects of the decision.
“Despite lengthy correspondence, the Commission has failed to provide a satisfactory response. We are therefore left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened.”
UKGC has maintained that the competition was a ‘fair, open and robust’ process, with Allwyn coming out on top due to its commitment to good causes and the growth of the National Lottery.
However, as reported earlier this week, Camelot alleged that the Commission ‘changed the rules’ after it reportedly finished first in a scoring system assessing the bids.
According to reports, the UKGC originally placed a 15% risk factor into the assessment of the bids, however, according to Camelot, it was removed from the process.
Allwyn has pledged £38bn to good causes over the 10-year contract, whilst Camelot has only raised £45bn since the National Lottery’s inception in 1994, raising concerns over the validity of the preferred applicant’s claims.
Railton also noted the importance of ‘independent scrutiny’ of the UKGC decision, with it potentially having a devastating impact on Camelot’s 1000+ staff.
He added: “Irrespective of Camelot’s dual roles as current operator and applicant for the next National Lottery licence, the competition is one of the largest UK government-sponsored procurements and the process deserves independent scrutiny.
“Separately, more than 1,000 Camelot employees work tirelessly to successfully operate The National Lottery under the current licence and, at the very least, they are owed a proper explanation.”
Announcing Allwyn’s preferred applicant status, UKGC detailed that a 22-month handover period would lead to Allwyn taking control of the National Lottery in February 2024.
However, it is as of yet unclear what the impact of the legal challenge will have on the timeline and the outcome of the competition.