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Camelot confirms legal action against Gambling Commission National Lottery decision

Camelot has confirmed that it will appeal to the High Court over the decision to award the next National Lottery licence to Allwyn.

UK.- Camelot isn’t going to let the British National Lottery go without a fight. The company has confirmed that it will launch a High Court appeal against the Gambling Commission’s decision to choose Czech Republic’s Allwyn as its preferred applicant for the next National Lottery licence.

Chief executive Nigel Railton said the company wanted to know why Camelot’s bid didn’t win despite scoring highest in an evaluation phase of the tender.

Camelot has run the UK National Lottery since its inception in 1994. The new, fourth licence period will begin in 2024, the lottery’s 30th anniversary year. The other contenders in the Gambling Commission’s tender were Italy’s Sisal, which is in the process of being acquired by Flutter, and Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell.

The Gambling Commission said the National Lottery tender process was “fair, open and robust”. However, Camelot claims the regulator “broke the law” by changing the rules after it reportedly came first in a scoring system used to assess the bid.

It claims the Gambling Commission removed a 15 per cent risk factor weighting originally used in its assessment. It also says the regulator failed to scrutinise Allwyn’s claims about how much money it will give to good causes.

Railton said: “We are launching a legal challenge today in our capacity as an applicant for the Fourth Licence because we firmly believe that the Gambling Commission has got this decision badly wrong. When we received the result, we were shocked by aspects of the decision.

“Despite lengthy correspondence, the Commission has failed to provide a satisfactory response. We are therefore left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened.”

He added that it was important to have “independent scrutiny” of the Gambling Commission’s decision considering the impact it will have on Camelot’s more than one thousand staff in the UK.

He said: “Irrespective of Camelot’s dual roles as current operator and applicant for the next National Lottery licence, the competition is one of the largest UK government-sponsored procurements and the process deserves independent scrutiny.

“Separately, more than 1,000 Camelot employees work tirelessly to successfully operate The National Lottery under the current licence and, at the very least, they are owed a proper explanation.”

It’s not clear if Camelot’s legal challenge could impact the timeline for the transition to the next licensee. Camelot has taken legal action to keep its hold over the National Lottery before. When it initially lost the first National Lottery licence re-tender in 2000 to Richard Branson’s Virgin, it took the matter to court claiming unfair treatment and won, eventually retaining the licence, which it has held ever since.

Last month, the Gambling Commission fined Camelot £3.15m for a series of National Lottery app failures dating back several years.

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