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GC denies support for Camelot’s National Lottery bid

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Gambling Commission dismissed claims it has endorsed Camelot’s bid to secure the fourth UK National Lottery licence as “inaccurate”.
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The regulator spoke out in response to a report in The Daily Telegraph, published on its website and in today’s (10 February) print edition.

The paper claimed Camelot, the National Lottery licence holder since its inception in 1994, was to be awarded a “preferred bidder” status from the Gambling Commission.

This would mean that the Gambling Commission had endorsed Camelot to win the fourth UK National Lottery licence tender. That process began in August 2020, and has seen Allwyn, formerly Sazka Group, Health Lottery operator Northern & Shell and Italy’s Sisal bid to oust Camelot. Should Sisal – which is to be acquired by Flutter Entertainment – prevail, it would mark the first time a private operator has run the lottery.

The article claimed Camelot scored highest on the criteria designed to assess each bid, with its scorecard allegedly passed on to culture secretary Nadine Dorries.

However the Gambling Commission declared the process was not yet concluded and the claims untrue.

“We are still in the process of evaluation and today’s Daily Telegraph piece is simply based on false and inaccurate information,” it said. “We have asked them to remove the article in its current form from the newspaper’s website.”

“Our job is to run the best competition we possibly can – one that is fair and open, and results in the best outcome for players and good causes. The board of commissioners make the final decision and will inform the government when the final decision is made.”

The tender winner was set to be announced in September 2021, but delays mean the winner will likely be announced later this month, or in March.

In August 2021 the Gambling Commission extended Camelot’s existing licence for six more months, until February 2024, meaning the new operator will not take charge until that date.