UK Lottery Licence Battle Continues, Camelot to Appeal Unfavourable High Court Decision

Daniel Williams

The battle for the UK National Lottery licence shows no signs of slowing down. The current licence holder Camelot has moved to appeal the unfavourable High Court ruling that paved the way for rival Allwyn Entertainment taking charge of the lottery. In late June, the High Court ruled in favour of lifting the automatic suspension that deterred the UKGC from granting the next lottery licence to Allwyn.

The latter is an international lottery operator with a strong presence in various markets, including Poland, Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and the US. Camelot and its partner IGT subsequently requested permission to appeal the prior decision and the Court of Appeal granted it yesterday. The suspension will thus remain in place until a resolution of the appeal is reached.

Current licence holder the Camelot Group insists that the assessors of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) made improbable revenue forecasts for Allwyn Entertainment when choosing it as the preferred licence applicant to operate the lottery from 2024 onwards. The Group suggests that it would have been appointed if the gambling regulator had not made what it deems an obvious error.

The permission for the appeal comes shortly after former gambling minister Christopher Philp expressed his disappointment with Camelot pursuing legal action. The Group started legal proceedings against the local gambling watchdog in April. At the time, Camelot accused the UKGC of violating the law by discarding its score from the licence bidding system.

The watchdog said it would initiate the process of formally granting the next licence to Allwyn Entertainment and ensure a smooth and timely transition. After Camelot launched its legal challenge, the regulator continued to insist it had carried out its assessment fairly and in line with its statutory duties.

The UKGC claimed at the time it had taken all possible measures to ensure a level field for all licence applicants. The regulatory body further defended its decision by saying the evaluation enabled it to select a licensee that would safeguard players and operate the lottery with great integrity.

Camelot Was Fined for App Malfunctions Earlier This Year

Speaking of player protections, the UKGC recently imposed a £3.15 million fine on Camelot after finding multiple failings of the operator’s mobile application. As a result of said failures, over 65,000 self-excluded players received promotional messages despite the fact they were not supposed to have any access to lotteries or make purchases via the application. As many as 20,000 customers were not informed their tickets had won, while 22,210 others purchased a single ticket but were charged for two.

Last month, the current licence holder reported it had witnessed a decline in annual sales, which it attributed to the increased cost of living that impacted customers’ disposable outcome. Camelot also claimed its lower performance was due to the 6.6% decline in the sales of interactive instant-win games.

Camelot has been running the UK National Lottery for the past 28 years. The appeal hearing is scheduled for the week of September 12. The company has started separate legal proceedings for damages that could cost the British government approximately £600 million.

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez