Amid fast-changing COVID-19 developments, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has detailed that it will maintain its fourth National Lottery competition timeline.
International and domestic suitors had detailed concerns that the National Lottery tender would be delayed or postponed by the Commission in view of UK COVID-19 disruptions.
Issuing a statement to SBC, the Gambling Commission said: “We are carefully monitoring the advice of Public Health England and as an organisation, we will respond appropriately to their advice, as it develops. At this stage, the programme timeline is unaffected and we remain on track to launch the competition in the first half of 2020.
The UKGC launched its tender process at the start of the year, seeking bids to challenge incumbent Camelot UK for the exclusive right to operate the National Lottery from 2023.
However, since its launch, the tender process has faced a number of interruptions, with media questioning whether the UKGC will fulfil its bidding timetable.
Last February, high-profile suitors complained that bidding parties had not been sanctioned with a ‘procurement questionnaire’, a key tender procedure which was meant to be sanctioned by the Commission’s tender advisory.
The delay saw UK media speculate that PM Boris Johnson would transfer tender oversight responsibilities away from DCMS to a special business unit led by the Cabinet Office.
Furthermore, Johnson’s senior advisors were reported to want DCMS to focus on carrying out a review of the BBC’s licensing fee and UK digital standards.
Yesterday, countering industry concerns, the UKGC published its COVID-19 guidance following advice from Public Health England in developing a comprehensive business continuity plan.
In its guidance, the Commission warned licence holders that it expects incumbents to ‘continue to act responsibly, especially with regards to individual customer affordability and increased social responsibility interactions’.