National Lottery operator Camelot has expressed disappointment with the High Court’s decision to lift a suspension placed on the UK Gambling Commission prohibiting it from transferring the fourth licence contract to Allwyn.
Yesterday it was revealed that the UKGC could go ahead with the formal process to begin the transition between the third and fourth licence, which will start in February 2024.
Despite an automatic ban placed upon the UKGC due to legal action from Camelot – the ever-present operator of the National Lottery – an Enabling Agreement has been put in place, allowing the process to begin after John Tanner, Executive Director of the Commission, warned of severe consequences.
In the wake of this, Camelot has responded by noting that, whilst it is disappointed by the High Court’s decision, it remains confident that its overall legal case over UKGC’s handling of the Fourth National Lottery Licence competition is ‘very strong’ and that it will continue with its action.
“While disappointing, this judgement only addresses whether or not the Enabling Agreement can be signed while our case is heard. The judgement on whether the Gambling Commission correctly and lawfully awarded Preferred Applicant status is being dealt with separately,” a statement from Camelot read.
Camelot’s case against the regulator stemmed from its opposition to how it handled its duties managing the competition.
Allwyn was named as the ‘preferred applicant’ for the National Lottery licence back in March due to its commitment to good causes and modernising the lottery.
Whilst the Commission is adamant that it ran a ‘fair and robust’ process, Camelot has reiterated its desire to take the decision to court and underscored its own commitment to good causes.
The operator continued: “We will take some time to consider our next steps and continue to believe that we have a very strong legal case. In the meantime, we remain dedicated to maximising returns to Good Causes, building on our record performance over the past two years.”
Earlier this week, Camelot published the National Lottery’s sales figures for 2021/22, revealing it contributed a record £1.9bn to good causes in the year ended March 31.
However, this only served to hide that overall sales dropped by 2.5% and sales of instant games dropped by £240m. Camelot attributed this to tough economic conditions for consumers and greater competition as the country exited Covid-induced restrictions.