Allwyn confirms it will keep UK National Lottery HQ in Watford

Allwyn has been officially granted the next National Lottery licence.
Allwyn has been officially granted the next National Lottery licence.

The future operator of the UK National Lottery has also pledged to keep on current staff.

UK.- The Czech lottery giant Allwyn has formally been awarded the licence to run the UK National Lottery from February 2024. And it has now confirmed that it will operate from Watford, where current operator Camelot has based its administration since the National Lottery began in 1994.

The Gambling Commission has formally begun the handover process to Allwyn after Camelot dropped its legal attempt to block the move. Allwyn says it’s reached a deal to open an extra office in Watford at Iveco House above Watford Junction train station so that it can work near Camelot’s current operations for an easier transition.

It said the location would allow Allwyn and Camelot to “work collaboratively to deliver the transition successfully”. Allwyn added that Camelot’s staff of around 900 would be able to keep their jobs, insisting that it is “committed to Watford”. The new office not far from Camelot’s HQ in Tolpit Lane appears to suggest that will be the case.

Allwyn’s chairman Justin King said: “This award formally marks a fresh start for the National Lottery. We have exciting plans for this important and cherished institution, crucially raising even more proceeds for good causes across the country, improving the player experience through the latest technology and ensuring safe participation.

“Everyone at Allwyn is ready to meet the challenge of working under a shortened timeframe for transition. We look forward to working closely with Camelot’s team over the coming months to ensure the lottery is in its best ever shape when we take the reins in February 2024.”

The company had previously told local press: “Allwyn would like to assure Camelot staff and the wider community that our selection is hugely positive news for Watford and the local community. Camelot employees in Watford sit at the heart of the National Lottery and we are keen to tap into their unique expertise.

“Existing National Lottery staff’s rights as employees will be fully protected in law as Allwyn transitions to become the next operator.”

Allwyn, formerly known as Sazka, believes it can boost National Lottery sales and double the amount of money that goes to good causes. It has suggested that it will slash ticket prices by half to £1 – the original price of a ticket – and will improve and modernise National Lottery operations.  

Group CEO Robert Chvatal has laid out the Czech giant’s plans for the National Lottery. Speaking to The Times, Chvatal said Allwyn would modernise the lottery through the right combination of brand, games and “the best technology”.

Gambling Commission officially awards National Lottery licence to Allwyn

The Gambling Commission has entered into an “enabling agreement” with Allwyn to officially begin the transition ahead of the start of the fourth licence period in February 2024. Allwyn will run the lottery for a fixed 10-year term.

The British regulator named Allwyn its preferred applicant for the next licence in March but it hadn’t been able to officially start the transition process due to a legal challenge from Camelot and tech supplier IGT. 

Gambling Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said: “We are pleased to have officially awarded the fourth licence to Allwyn following a highly successful competition and the court’s decision to lift the suspension on the award process. We now look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth and efficient handover.

“I am confident that Allwyn and the key changes for the fourth licence will maximise returns to good causes, promote innovation, deliver against our statutory duties and ultimately protect the unique status of the National Lottery.”

Allwyn UK CEO David Craven said: “This moment signals a time for change for the National Lottery. We have already begun this exciting new chapter; our transformation programme has started with energy and purpose from our Watford-based headquarters. We must seize this moment, creating the right conditions for the National Lottery to innovate.

“Our primary transition objective is to responsibly boost performance leading to increased contributions to good causes. We look forward to welcoming the existing Camelot colleagues in Watford to be part of this new, exciting chapter,” Craven continued.

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