UKGC to pledge allegiance to Allwyn in National Lottery hearing this week

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The UK Gambling Commission will reaffirm its commitment to awarding Allwyn the fourth National Lottery licence in a hearing this week.

As reported by the Telegraph, a two-day “balance of convenience” hearing is scheduled to start on Wednesday, where the Commission will ask judges for permission to sign a 10-year National Lottery licence with Allwyn.

The Czech-based operator was named as the preferred candidate in March, succeeding Camelot, but the current incumbent has since announced its decision to take the UKGC to High Court over the decision.

Last week, Dame Dianne Thompson, former CEO of Camelot, advised the Commission to delay the handover until after the legal dispute has been concluded, in order to protect the funds set aside for good causes.

The Camelot contract expires in February 2024, with fears emanating that there may not be enough time for a handover if legal proceedings drag on. The Commission is asking for permission to award the contract immediately as a result.

According to the Telegraph, “well-placed sources” claim Camelot’s hopes of overturning the licence decision will be “largely extinguished” if the judges side with the Commission.

Instead, Camelot would be expected to seek an estimated £500m in damages, money which may be drawn from the funds for good causes.

However, if the High Court sides with Camelot to delay the signing of the contract, sources close to the Commission and Allwyn claim that preparations to hand over the National Lottery will be disrupted.

The “balance of convenience” hearing next week will only consider the arguments for and against the regulator signing its contract with Allwyn.