Camelot Granted Six-Month Extension as UK Lottery Operator Bidding Process Delayed

  • Extension stems from a three-month auction delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Camelot currently holds the license; bidding for the new tender opened earlier this year
  • Richard Desmond and Czech firm Sazka are rumored to be interested in applying

 

UK lottery ticket
Camelot, the current license holder to operate the UK National Lottery, will soon be given a six-month extension from the Gambling Commission as the pandemic has delayed the license auction competition. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

News to be confirmed soon

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is expected to formally extend Camelot’s license to run the National Lottery in the next few weeks, a decision confirmed by Camelot’s own chief executive Nigel Railton.

The Canadian-owned company has held the license since 1994. The bidding process for a new license holder began this spring.

Camelot still keen to continue

Responding to claims that his firm, owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, only runs the National Lottery to fund teachers’ pensions back in Canada, Railton told The Telegraph: “Camelot is a British company. Yes, we are owned by Canadians but what is often missed is the amount of investment they make.”

He went on to say that the company has invested more than £300m ($372m) in this latest license period alone. Railton added that less than a pence per pound wagered is sent back to Canada.

If we don’t bid, or don’t win, then Camelot UK will cease to exist.”

Despite a number of contenders, Camelot, which has held the license since its inception and has successfully won the bid three times now, is expected to reapply. Confirming the extension, Railton added that: “If we don’t bid, or don’t win, then Camelot UK will cease to exist.”

Big names keen on competing

The Gambling Commission officially opened the new bidding process earlier in the year. A number of big names have thrown their hats into the ring.

Led by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group decided once again to apply, but eventually decided to sideline its application to focus on the company’s main operations once COVID-19 hit.

it has raised more than £40bn ($49bn) for UK causes”

Other competitors, such as media mogul and current owner of the Health Lottery, Richard Desmond, and the Czech firm Sazka have also been rumored to be interested. A spokesperson for Sazka said: “We continue to review the draft invitation to apply issued by the Gambling Commission to determine our response and are monitoring the situation closely.”

Camelot’s current license is due to expire in 2023. According to its 2019 financial results, it has raised more than £40bn ($49bn) for UK causes.