The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued a £3.15m ($4.16m) fine to the current operator of the UK National Lottery, Camelot UK. The UKGC announced the penalty on Tuesday relating to failures found in Camelot’s mobile app.
investigation into three different failures
The UKGC has finished its investigation into three different failures that supposedly had a negative impact on Camelot customers. It notified Camelot that it was beginning an investigation into possible breaches in March 2021.
In deciding upon the enforcement action, the UKGC considered a number of different aspects. It looked at the reputational risk for the National Lottery, the outcomes for the involved players, the impact on funds going to good causes, any potential financial gain from the non-compliance, and the operator’s governance and control structures.
All of the financial penalty proceeds will go to good causes.
Three distinct failures
In the initial failure, the National Lottery mobile app mistakenly notified as many as 20,000 players that their winning lottery tickets had lost. The issue took place between November 2016 and September 2020, caused when customers scanned their tickets using the QR scanner on the app. The problem supposedly cost customers between £48,000 ($63,413) and £68,000 ($89,835).
Another failure saw 22,210 players charged for two tickets after buying just one on the app. Each of these people has since received a refund for the duplicate ticket or kept any prizes they won on the duplicate ticket.
The final failure saw the app send marketing communications to users who had shown signs of gambling harm or joined GamStop’s self-exclusion list. While about 65,400 people received these marketing messages, none of them were able to subsequently buy a ticket through the app.
Changing of the guard
In a statement on the regulator’s website, UKGC chief executive Andrew Rhodes noted that Camelot has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the National Lottery app no longer has any issues. However, Rhodes also emphasized that Camelot had to deal with the consequences of its failures, saying that “any operator failing to comply with their license requirements will be investigated by the Commission and we will not hesitate to issue fines if requirements are breached.”
will not regain its license after the term expires
March hasn’t been too kind to Camelot. As well as learning of the £3.15m ($4.16m) fine, the current National Lottery operator also found out that it will not regain its license after the term expires. Camelot has served as the operator of the National Lottery since its launch in 1994, but the UKGC has decided to now look elsewhere.
Allwyn Entertainment will take over as the National Lottery operator by February 2024 with an initial ten-year license. Following the news, Camelot CEO Nigel Railton expressed his disappointment at being one of three unsuccessful bidders.