The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has raised concerns that Camelot Group‘s legal challenge of the Fourth National Lottery Competition may delay the handover of the National Lottery’s operating contract to Allwyn UK.
The concern was raised by UKGC executive John Tanner in his submission to the High Court of England and Wales, as Camelot seeks to overturn the appointment of Allwyn as the next steward of the National Lottery – which is set to begin from 1 February 2024.
Tanner, who served as the Competition’s Senior Responsible Officer (SRO), outlined concerns over ‘insufficient implementation time’ for Allwyn to take over the multi-billion-pound UK government contract.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, the Commission seeks to overturn a legal constraint that has prevented the regulator from entering an ‘enabling agreement’ with Allwyn to begin the National Lottery’s transfer protest.
Handling the first transfer of the National Lottery in its thirty-year history, the Commission has granted Allwyn a 2-year transitional period to establish its business and retail network in cooperation with the UKGC as UK gambling’s regulatory agency.
The Commission seeks assurances that Camelot will fulfil its handover duties, irrespective of its appeal against the Competition’s outcome and notified the High Court that handover processes must begin by “June or July at the latest”.
In his submission, Tanner reflected that the Commission seeks to avoid the “real risk that there will be a period when the National Lottery does not operate at all.”
Camelot’s legal proceedings were branded as a ‘prejudice on Allwyn‘, who cannot proceed with essential steps to begin the Fourth Licence.
The UKGC announced Allwyn as winner of Fourth Licence on 15 March – a result immediately contested by Camelot, who demanded that the Commission explain its final verdict as the incumbent had led all scoring on key requirements to operate the National Lottery.
Though yet to be disclosed, media reports outline that Camelot’s claim is rooted in allegations that UKGC ‘changed the rules’ of the Competition after it reportedly finished first in a scoring system assessing the bids.
The UKGC stands by its decision that it run a ‘fair, open and robust competition’, advised by its auditing partner of EY and Hogan Lovells as external legal advisor.