The UK gambling regulator said on Tuesday that the National Lottery would to be handed over to Allwyn, after existing operator Camelot dropped its appeal against the decision to award the licence to its rival.
Allwyn, a Czech company and Europe’s largest lottery operator, was awarded the 10-year National Lottery licence in March but a drawn-out court battle held up the process.
However, earlier this month Camelot and its technology supplier IGT announced they had given up their attempt to halt the licensing process and said instead that they would only seek financial damages.
“We are pleased to have officially awarded the fourth licence to Allwyn following a highly successful competition and the court’s decision to lift the suspension on the award process,” said Andrew Rhodes, Gambling Commission chief executive.
The regulator said it had entered into an enabling agreement with Allwyn, which will take over the National Lottery licence in February 2024, becoming only the second operator in the lottery’s three-decade history.
As part of its winning bid, Allwyn pledged to halve ticket prices to £1, double the amount of money generated for good causes and invest heavily in new digital products.
Under the new licence agreement, Allwyn’s profits will be more closely tied to the returns raised for good causes. The contract is projected to generate sales of around £10bn a year.
The Gambling Commission had warned in court filings that any further delay to the handover process could damage National Lottery fundraising for good causes or lead to the lottery being temporarily suspended.
But the regulator said in a statement that meetings between Camelot and Allwyn had already taken place and it was “confident” that Camelot would “honour their obligations” as part of the transition process.
“We now look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth and efficient handover,” added Rhodes. “I am confident that Allwyn and the key changes for the fourth licence will maximise returns to good causes, promote innovation, deliver against our statutory duties, and ultimately protect the unique status of the National Lottery.”
Camelot and IGT are still seeking financial damages from the government, claiming the competition for the fourth lottery licence was unfairly conducted.
Camelot, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, a Canadian pension fund, is pushing for damages of up to £400mn, while IGT is pursuing damages worth around £200mn. The case is scheduled to be heard in January next year.