The Camelot Group isn’t going quietly in its recent defeat of maintaining operations of the UK National Lottery after its current license expires at the end of 2023.
In a strongly-worded statement, Camelot Group CEO Nigel Railton says the UK Gambling Commission owes his company and workers an explanation as to why the governmental agency opted to terminate its lottery contract. Earlier this month, the UKGC awarded Allwyn Entertainment the lottery privileges beginning in 2024.
Camelot today initiated legal proceedings against the UKGC on allegations that it did not reach the correct outcome in its competitive bidding process for the lottery contract.
We firmly believe that the Gambling Commission has got this decision badly wrong. Despite lengthy correspondence, the Commission has failed to provide a satisfactory response,” Railton said.
“More than 1,000 Camelot employees work tirelessly to successfully operate the National Lottery under the current license, and at the very least, they are owed a proper explanation,” the Camelot boss added.
Changing of Guard
Camelot Group has enjoyed the fortune of operating the UK National Lottery since its inception in 1994. Today, the UKGC lottery contract is considered one of the most lucrative public sector opportunities in Britain.
Some UKGC critics have taken issue with Allwyn’s potential ties to Russia. The gaming firm is controlled by Czech oil and gas billionaire Karel Komarek.
Komarek’s MND oil and gas exploration company previously worked with a Russian entity to build an underground storage chamber in the Czech Republic. However, Komarek says that the relationship has long been dissolved.
Regardless, Railton says the UKGC had no good reason to end Camelot’s lottery contract. Saying he was “shocked” by the UKGC decision, Railton contends that Camelot has no choice other than to proceed with a legal challenge by way of the High Court.
“We are left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened,” Railton said.
The UK Gambling Commission today acknowledged Camelot’s High Court challenge. The gaming regulator says it acted appropriately in reaching its decision to move forward, beginning in 2024, with Allwyn.
We are confident that we have run a fair and robust competition. We have taken every step possible to ensure a level playing field for all interested parties, to enable us to appoint a licensee who will engage and protect players, run the National Lottery with integrity, and ensure the National Lottery continues to support good causes and their contribution to society,” a UKGC statement explained.
The UK National Lottery is one of the richest lotteries in the world. During its most recent fiscal year, the lottery reported sales of £8.37 billion (US$11 billion). The lottery generated £1 billion in taxes for the government and created nearly £1.9 billion in funding for various charities and community programs.
Of the UK National Lottery’s net revenue, 40% is earmarked for “health, education, environment, and charitable causes.” The remaining 60% is divvied between “sport,” “arts,” and “heritage.”