National Lottery transfer in jeopardy as UKGC’s enabling agreement is revoked
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has had its ‘enabling agreement’ reversed by the Court of Appeal – a decision that will severely impact the transfer of National Lottery duties and technical arrangements to Allwyn UK
On 29 June, the High Court of England and Wales granted an enabling agreement to the Commission, which allowed the regulator to transfer National Lottery management duties to Allwyn – the winner of the UK government’s Fourth National Lottery Contract beginning 1 January 2024.
Camelot UK the incumbent operator of the National Lottery, and its technology partner IGT Plc subsequently contested the decision. Both businesses had formally launched a multi-million-pound High Court lawsuit challenging the Commission’s handling of the National Lottery competition.
Yesterday, permission was granted to Camelot and IGT to appeal the Commission’s enabling agreement as part of the duo’s ongoing lawsuit against the regulator.
An automatic suspension will remain in place, pending the outcome of appeal proceedings, with hearings likely to begin on the week of 12 September.
“Throughout the litigation process, we have been clear that disrupting the implementation of Allwyn’s plans would present potentially severe consequences for the National Lottery and good causes,” – the Commission responded.
“It also risks the National Lottery not operating to its full potential at the start of the fourth licence.”
Despite the setback, the Commission respects the court’s decision that will “generate challenges for the transition to the fourth licence and further delay the award of the licence to Allwyn”.
Taking questions from a DCMS oversight committee, former Tech and Digital undersecretary Chris Philp, who oversaw gambling policies, revealed that Camelot and IGT sought £600m in damages from its lawsuit against the Commission.
Notified of the appeal, Allwyn issued the following statement by UK Chairman Justin King: “We are obviously disappointed by today’s decision. It creates the likelihood of further delay as the appeal will not be held until September. It is common ground that this delay will damage the introduction of the benefits the Fourth Licence brings for Good Causes.
“As the Court ruled, Camelot and IGT must now provide an undertaking for damages by 4 pm Friday. We call on them to either ensure that undertaking includes Good Causes, or instead in the interests of the Good Causes and the National Lottery, to gracefully accept the ruling of Mrs Justice O’Farrell.
“This would allow the suspension to be lifted and the Gambling Commission to move forward with Awarding the Fourth Licence to Allwyn.”