UK Gambling Commission Declares National Lottery License Competition Open

  • Current license belongs to Camelot, set to expire in 2023
  • UKGC will announce its chosen applicant in September 2021
  • Competition was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Next license will have a fixed ten-year term, new incentive mechanism
  • Lottery has raised over £41bn ($54.5bn) for good causes since its 1994 launch
UK National Lottery website
The UK Gambling Commission has launched the competition process to award the next National Lottery license for 2023. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Finding the right candidate

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) launched the process to award the fourth-ever National Lottery license on August 28. Operators can now formally register their interest as part of the initial competitive phase. The current lottery license, held by Camelot, is set to expire in 2023.

The lottery body regulator announced the competition open in a tweet:

If an applicant successfully gets through this first formal stage, they will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and the necessary supporting documents to help them submit their full application. The chosen licensee will be announced in September 2021.

The National Lottery license application process was set to begin earlier in 2020, but it experienced disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Camelot, the lottery’s operator since 1994, signed a three-month contract extension through July 2023 as a result of the delay.

A number of changes

The UKGC, which is in charge of awarding the lottery license, has laid out a number of changes to the fourth license competition. This time, the selected applicant will be awarded a fixed ten-year license which will allow to accurately plan its future investments. Camelot got a ten-year license in 2009 that was then extended by four years in 2012. 

The license holder will also have more flexibility that increases the scope to maximize funds going to good causes while also ensuring fair and safe play. Additionally, a new incentive mechanism will see that the licensee’s incentives are closely aligned with the returns to good causes. Finally, the licensed UK National Lottery operator must build stronger relationships with those parties that distribute National Lottery funds. 

greater autonomy to meet the needs of players”

UKGC chief executive Neil McArthur said of the competition: “In line with our outcomes-focussed approach to regulation, we want the next licensee to have greater autonomy to meet the needs of players in 2023 and beyond, whilst ensuring there is clear accountability for the performance of the National Lottery.”

Minister for Sports, Tourism, and Heritage Nigel Huddleston spoke about the positive impact National Lottery funding has on communities all around the UK, helping to brighten up people’s lives.

Major contributor to social causes

The UK National Lottery is the fifth-largest lottery in the globe. Since launching in 1994, it has raised over £41bn ($54.5bn) for more than 565,000 local good causes.

over £41bn ($54.5bn) for more than 565,000 local good causes

To date, it has awarded over £75bn ($99.7bn) worth of prizes, handing out eight million prizes every week. In the wake of COVID-19, the National Lottery also launched a £600m ($798.5m) fund to help charities and organizations that were negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

12 distributing bodies direct National Lottery funding to the relevant good causes, overseen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport as well as devolved administrations.