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Allwyn confirms “advanced” talks to purchase Camelot UK

| By Robert Fletcher
Allwyn Entertainment has revealed that it is in “advanced discussions” over the potential purchase of Camelot UK, the business it will replace as operator of the UK National Lottery.

Over the weekend, Sky News, citing sources close to the talks, said Allwyn had opened talks with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), the current owner of Camelot UK, over a deal worth approximately £100m (€117m/$116m).

Sources said an agreement could be reached within a matter of weeks and lead to Allwyn taking ownership of Camelot’s entire UK operations, including the current (until February 2024) rights to operate the National Lottery – when Allwyn is set to take over.

Allwyn issued a response to confirm the talks but added that any deal would be subject to regulatory approvals.

“In response to speculation, we can confirm that Allwyn is engaged in advanced discussions with OTPP which may lead to it purchasing Camelot’s UK operations.” Allwyn said. “If an agreement were to be reached, it would be subject to regulatory approvals. 

“Our shared objective is to reach an agreement which would best serve the interests of the many stakeholders of The National Lottery, in particular the good causes it supports as well as the employees of Camelot and Allwyn UK.”

Allwyn was formally awarded the fourth UK National Lottery licence last month, officially ending Camelot’s 28-year tenure as operator.

The Gambling Commission entered into an “enabling agreement” with Allwyn, previously known as Sazka, meaning Allwyn had officially been awarded the licence and the transition to a new lottery operator had begun.

This came after the Commission announced, in March, that Allwyn was its preferred applicant for the licence, ahead of incumbent Camelot, The New Lottery Company and Sisal.

Camelot and its technology provider IGT criticised the decision and eventually challenged it in court, arguing the Commission had not been forthright in its communication and that its employees were “owed a proper explanation” as to why its licence was not reviewed. 

This led to the High Court automatically suspending the licensing decision, but Camelot in September withdrew its challenge following media reports that money for good causes could be at risk in a lengthy court case – removing Allwyn’s final obstacle in receiving the licence.

While Camelot said it would proceed with a separate claim for compensation, a source told Sky News this would be halted if Allwyn was to succeed with its takeover. 

A source also said the deal would guarantee Camelot’s full co-operation with Allwyn in the period leading up to the licence transition. 

Allwyn is due to assume control of the UK National Lottery in February 2024.

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