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LotteryLegal & Regulatory

Lawyer comment: Camelot appeal will "upset" any smooth transition to new operator

News broke earlier this week that Camelot has launched a High Court legal case against the Gambling Commission, following its recent decision to award the fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn Entertainment. 

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The news is expected, considering Camelot has operated the National Lottery in the UK for 28 years. In 2020/21 alone, Camelot made a profit of £95m ($125m) from operating the National Lottery. 

On its High Court appeal, Nigel Railton, CEO, Camelot, commented: “We are launching a legal challenge today in our capacity as an applicant for the fourth licence, because we firmly believe that the Gambling Commission has got this decision badly wrong. When we received the result, we were shocked by aspects of the decision. 

“Despite lengthy correspondence, the Commission has failed to provide a satisfactory response. We are therefore left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened.” 

Allwyn Entertainment, a subsidiary of KKCG Entertainment, is due to commence its operation of the National Lottery in 2024, after a mandatory 22-month transition period.  

However, a High Court case could derail matters, especially if Camelot is successful. 

In quotes sent to Gambling Insider, Richard Williams, Gambling, Licensing and Regulatory Partner, Keystone Law, said: “Given strong press speculation beforehand that Camelot would again be named as the preferred bidder, the announcement favouring Allwyn Entertainment came as a shock to many of us. Camelot was named as the runner-up. 

“Not unexpectedly, it has been confirmed today that Camelot has launched judicial review proceedings in the High Court, challenging the Commission’s decision to appoint the licence to Allwyn. Camelot will seek independent scrutiny of the Commission’s selection process, claiming that the process was flawed.  

“The Commission made a press announcement stating that the competition was carried out fairly and lawfully and that it was confident a court would come to the same conclusion.     

“Time will tell whether Camelot’s challenge is successful, but this process is certain to upset a smooth transition to a new operator, particularly if it drags on towards the end of the transition period.” 

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