IGT ends legal challenge of Fourth National Lottery competition

MPs rally against IGT after new National Lottery claim launched against UKGC
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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has informed that IGT Plc has discontinued its legal challenge against the tender process of the Fourth National Lottery competition.

In July 2022, the NYSE-listed gambling technology group was granted permission by the Court of Appeal to challenge the Gambling Commission’s awarding of the Fourth National Lottery tender to Allwyn UK.

The technology partner Camelot UK, the former operating firm of the National Lottery, along with IGT, had requested an ‘automatic suspension’ of the Commission’s award of the multi-billion-pound contract, set to become effective from February 2024.

IGT and Camelot demanded that the High Court review the terms and conditions of the tender and that the UKGC explain its decision to award the contract to Allwyn UK over Camelot, which had operated the National Lottery since its inception in 1994.

Despite upholding the appeal, in July 2023, the High Court ruled that IGT did not have legal standing to pursue a claim for damages against the Gambling Commission concerning the award of the Fourth National Lottery licence.

By the time of the decision, Camelot UK had dropped its legal challenge against the UKGC, as its main shareholder, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, had agreed to sell the company to Allwyn UK, supporting the National Lottery’s transition to a new steward.

As declared by the UKGC statement: “On 9 January 2024 the Court of Appeal granted IGT’s request to dismiss its appeal, following IGT stating that they will no longer pursue a claim for damages against the Gambling Commission” 

“We remain resolute that we have run a fair and robust competition, and that our evaluation has been carried out fairly and lawfully in accordance with our statutory duties.

“Our priority is to continue to work to implement our decision for the benefit of participants and good causes. The Fourth National Lottery Licence is due to be granted on 1 February 2024.”

Taking on the 10-year contract, Allwyn has pledged to invest in the National Lottery, aiming to stimulate growth and introduce innovative approaches to its products and services. The investment is expected to increase year-on-year funds allocated to Good Causes, with Allwyn planning to rebrand the lottery to enhance engagement with UK audiences.

Despite IGT dropping its appeal, the legal challenges against the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) regarding its tender process do not conclude with IGT’s withdrawal.

Richard Desmond, owner of Northern & Shell, which competed in the tender, is also pursuing legal action. The publishing and media group alleges that the regulator made multiple clear errors during the tender procedure.

Consequently, Northern & Shell is seeking damages of £200 million. Desmond asserts that the process was flawed, unfair, and not designed to encourage genuine competition for the contract to raise money for good causes.