In a worst-case scenario, the lottery may be suspended if the legal battle drags on.
UK.- It’s been reported that Camelot’s legal challenge against the Gambling Commission’s decision to award the UK National Lottery to a different operator could eat into funding for good causes. It’s been suggested the legal battle could drain more than £1bn from the fund.
Camelot, owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, lost the tender to run the next National Lottery licence to the Czech Republic’s Allwyn. That means that from 2024, the Nationa Lottery will have a ne operator for the first time since it began in 1994.
However, Camelot is questioning the Gambling Commission’s process for awarding the licence and wants the transition to Allwyn to be delayed until its case has had a full hearing. The hearing is due to begin on September 13.
Allwyn has said it will cut National Lottery ticket prices from £2 to £1 and increase the amount of money that goes to sports and good causes, estimating a £38bn haul for good causes during its 10-year licence. However, Camelot claims the regulator did not properly take into account the risk factor rating of the proposals.
According to the Observer, the Gambling Commission has now warned in court filings that: “in the worst scenario, there will be a gap in service between the expiry of the third licence on 31 January 2024 and the commencement of the fourth licence.
“The commission anticipates there will be an overall shortfall of payment to good causes of at least £1bn and, in the case of an interregnum, considerably more.”
A Camelot spokesperson said: “This massive bill is entirely avoidable by simply waiting until after the court ruling before issuing the contract to run the national lottery. Good causes and the taxpayer should never have been put on the hook for hundreds of millions of pounds. Thankfully, there is still time for the regulator to change course, and we urge them to do so.”
An Allwyn spokesperson told the Observer: “Camelot will still have its day in court in the new year, in which we are confident it will be demonstrated that the Gambling Commission ran a thorough, proper and robust competition.”
Allwyn delivered its H1 financial results last week. At the time, chief executive Robert Chvatal said: “We look forward to the Court of Appeal hearing in September of the current operator’s appeal of the High Court’s decision to allow the license award to proceed and the formal transition period to begin.”