Camelot, the company that has run the UK National Lottery since it was launched, is poised to lose out on the next licence. Czech-owned Allwyn Entertainment has been announced by the Gambling Commission as its preferred applicant for the next licence, commencing in 2024. Four companies submitted applications and Camelot has been named as the ‘Reserve Applicant’.
The UK National Lottery is one of the largest in the world, raising more than £45bn for 660,000 causes over its past 30 years of operation, as well as contributing to the funding of training and facilities for Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Allwyn is the UK subsidiary of Europe’s largest lottery operator Sazka, owned by Czech billionaire, Karel Komarek since 2012. Sazka also holds stakes in OPAP (Greece), the Italian lottery company, Lotto, and Casinos Austria. Having launched its National Lottery bid in 2021 and its advisory board now includes Lord Sebastian Coe and entrepreneur, Sir Keith Mills.
A statement from Allwyn said that its appointment will “breathe fresh life into the National Lottery” and the Gambling Commission has judged their bid “to be the best way of growing returns to good causes by revitalising the National Lottery in a safe and sustainable way.”
Camelot Chief Executive Nigel Railton responded to this most recent announcement by saying: “I am incredibly disappointed by today’s announcement, but we still have a critical job to do, as our current licence runs until February 2024. We are now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.”