Bad luck for Camelot as High Court lifts stay on handing over National Lottery licence to Allwyn
Camelot has lost its legal battle to block the National Lottery licence handover to Allwyn.
Allwyn UK said in a statement this morning: “Today’s ruling is good news for The National Lottery; it enables the Gambling Commission to move forward to award Allwyn the Fourth National Lottery Licence”.
“Mrs. Justice O’Farrell was clear that the public interest, and in particular the impact on good causes, was a strong factor in her judgment”.
The decision paves the way for the transition to Allwyn, the winner of the Fourth Licence Competition, serving The National Lottery as its operator from February 2024.
The firm said the move looks at “kickstarting a transformation programme that brings an enhanced games portfolio, new technologies, provisions for safer play, and a substantial increase in returns to good causes”.
It added it was looking forward to working “constructively” with Camelot to ensure a smooth handover for players and good causes alike.
A spokesperson for Camelot told City A.M.: “While disappointing, this judgement only addresses whether or not the Enabling Agreement can be signed while our case is heard. The judgment on whether the Gambling Commission correctly and lawfully awarded Preferred Applicant status is being dealt with separately.
We will take some time to consider our next steps and continue to believe that we have a very strong legal case. In the meantime, we remain dedicated to maximising returns to Good Causes, building on our record performance over the past two years.”
In March, the Czech-backed operator Allwyn was named the preferred applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence, meaning Camelot lost its licence after 28 years.
Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said at the time he was “incredibly disappointed” by the Gambling Commission’s decision, and was deciding the company’s next steps.
Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said the Gambling Commission had not responded appropriately to questions about how and why the licence was given to Allwyn.
“We are therefore left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened,” he said
Camelot launched its legal tussle against the Gambling Commission’s decision in April.
The crux of Camelot’s challenge focused on the scoring system and ‘risk factor’ applied to judging the candidates for the lottery licence.
The voting essentially meant that Allwyn’s ambitious but potentially more risky business plan was able to score the jackpot prize.
According to the outgoing National Lottery’s operator, Camelot had a 15 per cent “risk factor” discount that was supposed to be applied to bidders’ financial forecasts, which was first applied and then discounted by the Gambling Commission.
The change in rules turned Allwyn’s projections for good causes to be significantly higher than Camelot’s.
In a court submission, Camelot said that awarding the fourth licence to Allwyn would effectively put Camelot “out of business”.
Just yesterday the UK firm revealed that sales dropped three per cent or £283.2m to £8.1bn in the year to March 31. It comes after players “tightened their belts” in the face of soaring living costs.