It never rains but it pours.
Just a matter of days after it was publicly revealed they are likely to lose the UK National Lottery operating licence to the Allwyn Group, Camelot have now been fined £3.15 million for an array of staggering breaches.
The trio of costly mistakes all occurred on the firm’s app, with as many as 20,000 users told that their winning tickets had in fact lost during a four-year period between November 2016 and September 2020.
An investigation from the UK Gambling Commission found that an error in how the app read QR codes meant that ticket holders, who had scanned a code to see if they had won or not, were given the wrong answer.
A second mistake on the app saw more than 22,000 players, who had bought single tickets for a lottery draw, charged for two tickets instead. Once that error had been identified, customers were either refunded for the second ticket or paid out if their duplicate had won.
And the third in a trio of misery saw lottery players that had self-excluded from marketing messages inundated with promotions from Camelot – although the 65,000 people affected were unable to buy a ticket through the app, fortunately.
The £3.15 million that Camelot will now have to pay to responsible gambling charities will hit a firm that has just lost its major contract hard, although the fine could have been higher – that’s if they hadn’t taken measures to improve their app, according to the Gambling Commission’s chief executive Andrew Rhodes.
“We are reassured that Camelot has taken steps to make sure that their national lottery app is fit for purpose,” he confirmed. “However, we must caution Camelot that any failings on their duties will be met with consequences.
“Today’s announcement reinforces that any operator failing to comply with their licence requirements will be investigated by the Commission, and we will not hesitate to issue fines if requirements are breached.”
Camelot, who could shed hundreds of workers after losing the lottery licence, have been forced to issue a public apology.
“We accept the outcome of the Gambling Commission’s investigation in respect of three unrelated historical incidents,” a company spokesperson revealed.
“We are sorry that some of our controls fell short of the mark in certain very specific circumstances, and have paid the fine.”
“We always strive to operate the national lottery to the highest possible standards and, given its scale and complexity, we’re proud of our track record of running the national lottery with extremely high levels of integrity.”
The firm is set to lose that lottery licence in 2024 – the first time in 28 years, since the National Lottery’s foundation, that Camelot will not be responsible for the various draws. The Commission has announced that Allwyn, a pan-European lottery operator that runs draws in Italy, Greece and Austria to name but three, is their preferred option moving forward.