This has been a fraught few months for the UK National Lottery with the fate of the new operator being decided by the UK Gambling Commission amid mounting political pressure who that should be. A previously erroneous report suggested that the regulator had made its mind as early as February, which the UKGC refuted almost instantly.
However, the official results are in and Camelot has lost its status as the lottery operator after 28 years on the job and will be giving up this position to Czech group Sazka’s Allwyn company. The pair were neck-and-neck for the privilege to operate the UK National Lottery and conflicting reports suggested that either party may win.
However, Allwyn has made a strong case as to why it should be the new operator, something that will now happen to start in 2024 when Camelot’s ongoing contract will expire. Allwyn seemed to muster the most convincing case for the expected changes to follow under its remit as an official operator.
The company has pledged no less than £38 billion ($49.5 billion) to various good causes over the next decade, which is almost as much as the £45 billion ($58.70 billion) raised by Camelot since 1994. Similarly, Allwyn assured the regulator that it would be ushering in a new range of games and making sure that all responsible gambling measures are met in full in the light of the upcoming Gambling Act Review. One of the big changes is in the fact that Allwyn owner and billionaire Karel Komárek has proposed to reduce the current ticket prices to £1 from presently £2.
For its part, the regulator was satisfied with the outcome of the entire bidding process. The UKGC published a statement in which it said that it was pleased that the final four applicants were in no way related to the conflict in Ukraine as a sanctioned party, which proved that the National Lottery was courted by reputable companies.
UKGC chief executive Andrew Rhodes pointed out that this has been the biggest number of applications since the procedure began in 1994 reflecting on the growing impartiality and competitiveness of the selection process. Allwyn is expected to begin immediate changes to its UK subsidiary which was established in the hopes that the company may secure the bid.
Over the past months, several high-profile hires were made to ensure that should Allwyn is selected to be the operator, it would have the necessary talent to set up its operations in the UK. The company even appointed Justin King as its new chairman of lottery operations for the United Kingdom, anticipating a positive outcome in the end.
King has now been officially affirmed in this position as his definitive appointment was contingent on Allwyn’s successful bid. Cited by The Guardian, a British media outlet, King said:
"I’m delighted that Allwyn’s proposal has been deemed the strongest to grow good causes in the safest and most sustainable way possible."
He argued that the selection process has been detailed and fair and that strong attention has been paid to all parties bidding for the license and what they bring to the table. Other bidders in the process included Sisal, a jointly-owned company with Flutter, although in the last months the choice really seemed to only come down to Allwyn and Camelot, as per most media reports.
Image credit: Unsplash.com