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GC defends lottery licence competition amid reported Camelot legal challenge

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The Gambling Commission has defended the integrity and fairness of the selection process for the fourth UK National Lottery licence, following a report that incumbent operator Camelot was planning to take legal action against the regulator because of the way in which Allwyn’s winning bid was chosen.

A report in the Sunday Telegraph, published yesterday (27 March) claimed Camelot was preparing a legal challenge against the Gambling Commission because of the procedure by which it selected Allwyn to operate the lottery from 2025.

A Camelot spokesperson told iGB that the operator would not comment on the report.

According to the newspaper’s report, Camelot had initially received the highest score in a system where all bids were assessed with scorecards.

However, the report then alleged that the scoring system was changed to reduce the impact of a “risk discount” that was applied to scores in order to take into account the possibility that an operator falls short of its projected target for good causes.

After this discount was reduced, the Telegraph claimed, Allwyn came out on top.

A Gambling Commission spokesperson told iGB that the regulator could not comment on the possibility of the legal challenge itself.

However, the spokesperson did address the claim that the competition had been run in an unfair manner. 

“We are confident that we have run a fair and robust competition,” they said. “We have taken every step possible to ensure a level playing field for all interested parties, to enable us to appoint a licensee who will engage and protect players, run the National Lottery with integrity and ensure the National Lottery continues to support good causes and their contribution to society.”

The Telegraph had previously reported that Camelot had been the highest-scoring bidder and so was expected to have its licence renewed, but the Gambling Commission denied this report.

Upon being selected, Allwyn said that the Gambling Commission had selected its bid because it “was judged to be the best way of growing returns to good causes by revitalising the National Lottery in a safe and sustainable way”.

Meanwhile, Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said at the time that he was disappointed by the decision to select Allwyn, but that his business would continue to work on delivering a strong product and raising money for good causes until the third licence expires.

“I’m incredibly disappointed by today’s announcement, but we still have a critical job to do – as our current licence runs until February 2024,” he said. “We’re now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.

“I’m enormously grateful to our 1,000-plus employees who have been unwavering in delivering record-breaking results during the current licence.”

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