Camelot set to lose licence to run National Lottery after three decades

Camelot is set to lose its licence to run the National Lottery after three decades after rival Allwyn Entertainment was named preferred applicant to take over from 2024.

The Gambling Commission, which made the selection, said Allwyn’s investment commitments would mean “growth and innovation” for the lottery resulting in increased contributions to good causes.

Camelot has run the National Lottery over three licence periods starting at its launch in 1994 – and this time faced a wider field of rivals for the new licence than at any time since then, with four applications at the final stage.

Image: The lottery has created more than 6,000 new millionaires since 1994

While missing out this time to Allwyn, it was named “reserve applicant” in case of a snag preventing its rival from taking over a new ten-year licence in 2024.

Switzerland-based Allwyn, owned by Czech businessman Karel Komarek, currently operates lotteries in countries including Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece and Italy.


The other applicants for the National Lottery licence were Sisal Spa and The New Lottery Company Ltd.

Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “We look forward to working with all parties to ensure a smooth handover.”

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The commission said it was “content that all applicants are fit and proper to operate the National Lottery” and “satisfied that no application is impacted by sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine”.

It has emerged that Mr Komarek’s company MND (Moravske Naftove Doly) formed a joint venture with Russian energy group Gazprom to build an underground gas storage facility in his home country, which opened in Moravia in 2016.

Since launching in 1994, the National Lottery has raised more than £45bn for 660,000 good causes such as arts, sport and heritage across the UK, the commission said. It has created more than 6,300 new millionaires.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of Lottery funding has allowed UK athletes to win more than 100 gold medals in the Olympics, since cash from the scheme began to be channelled into elite sports in the 1990s.

Image: The lottery has raised money for good causes such as UK sport

Allwyn welcomed the decision, saying: “Our proposal was judged to be the best way of growing returns to good causes by revitalising the National Lottery in a safe and sustainable way.

“The appointment of Allwyn will breathe fresh life into the National Lottery.”

Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said: “I’m incredibly disappointed by today’s announcement, but we still have a critical job to do – as our current licence runs until February 2024.

“We’re now carefully reviewing the Gambling Commission’s evaluation before deciding on our next steps.”