It’s hard to talk about Camelot and phrasing it as "the outgoing UK National Lottery operator" may not be exactly accurate, at least not if the company has something to say about it. Following a High Court ruling this week that unblocked the process that should see the national lottery license transferred to the new operator, Allwyn Entertainment by 2024, Camelot issued a statement in which the firm disagreed with the ruling.
Camelot released a statement in which it said it was disappointed with the High Court ruling but confirmed that it would seek to right what the company essentially sees as wrong. The defeated lottery license contender has not minced its words either, calling the entire process run by the national regulator, the Gambling Commission, unlawful. A spokesperson for the company simply stated:
"While disappointing, this judgment only addresses whether or not the enabling agreement can be signed while our case is heard. The judgment on whether the Gambling Commission correctly and lawfully awarded preferred applicant status is being dealt with separately."
However, the UKGC has rebuffed those claims and doubled down on its own determination to prove that anything in relation to the fourth tender has happened in a lawful and correct manner. The pair will square off in court once again in October when the case is set to continue with both plaintiff and defendant delivering their arguments.
Camelot has the backing of International Gaming Technology, the company’s tech partner, which is also set to press on against the regulator. The company confirmed that it would need some time to weigh the decision and the arguments behind it.
In the meantime, though, Camelot will fulfill its obligations to continue adding to good causes by driving better returns and improving the performance over the next two years when the hand-over to the new license holder should happen in theory. Should the license be transferred, Camelot would not be able to challenge it for another ten years.
The Camelot UK division will most likely be scrapped as a result. Allwyn Entertainment so far seems to be winning the case without involving itself too heavily. Both the UK Gambling Commission and now the High Court seems determined to protect their interests.
Of course, the more the transference of the license is delayed, the better Camelot’s chance becomes of actually installing itself as the operator. However, this would have to be couched in a clear and unbiased legal language lest it creates a precedent where dogged incumbents refuse to hand over the reins to the companies that have won a fair tender.
Allwyn Entertainment is also in a difficult position as it must begin preparing for taking over the National Lottery. Doing so would cost money and however unlikely, losing the license after investing would probably trigger more litigation with Allwyn taking on the regulator. But it’s unlikely that the UKGC would simply reverse its decision.
A more likely scenario is that the regulator may choose to run a repeat of the selection process as it attempts to settle matters.
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