The new operator of the National Lottery won’t take up the reins until February 2024 after the UK Gambling Commission announced they were delaying the selection process.
To plug the gap, the Commission has decided to hand an extra six months of running the operation to Camelot, the current provider.
It means that Phase Two of the competition to win the licence will be extended as the Commission sifts through the applications from Phase One.
Four weeks will be added to the application deadline for Phase Two, and a further six weeks will be tagged on for evaluating the credentials of the interested parties.
No real explanation has been given for the delay, although the Commission has used the events of the past 18 months as a reason for the hold up.
“Our job is to run the best competition we possibly can – one that is open and fair and results in the best outcome for players and good causes,” a statement on the Commission’s website read.
“We want to appoint a licensee that can build on the National Lottery’s legacy, and find new opportunities for a sustainable and successful future.
“To facilitate these changes, and ensure a smooth transition, we will extend the third National Lottery licence by six months. We remain encouraged by the number of applications received, and we look forward to evaluating Phase Two proposals as part of a robust process.”
A number of operators remain in the hunt for the fourth National Lottery licence, which will begin in February 2024, and with the winner announced next February. Will Camelot be replaced, or will they be granted another stay of execution?
A Global Appeal
A number of different international firms have thrown their hat into the ring to take on the National Lottery, but as yet Camelot have refused to confirm or deny if they are in the running.
The first confirmed applicant was the Sazka Group, who operate lotteries in a number of European countries including Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Austria. Backed by the private investment firm KKCG, their CEO Robert Chvatal said:
“As a leader in operating lotteries across Europe, Sazka has made no secret of the fact that we would be thrilled to operate the UK National Lottery.”
Sugal & Damani
In October 2020, Sugal & Damani – the National Lottery operator in India – also made their intentions clear. However, it was reported in July 2021 that they were considering withdrawing from the competition.
Sisal, who operate lotteries in Italy, Spain and Turkey, confirmed that they wanted the licence back in April, with their CEO Francesco Durante claiming that their application was built on a mandate of making the lottery ‘safer and an even better source of funds for good causes.’ They have partnered with the charity Barnado’s and tech giant BT in a bid to make good on those promises.
And as for Camelot, who knows? The current lottery operator is yet to confirm or deny its plans to continue in the lottery hotseat, although they remain committed to delivering the various draws for the next two-and-a-half years.