As reported by The Daily Telegraph, a six-month contract extension is set to be granted to National Lottery license holder Camelot Group as regulators look to temporarily suspend the tender for the rights to run the contest.
The official decision of Camelot’s license extension is now expected to be formally announced by the UKGC within the coming weeks according to the operator’s chief executive, Nigel Railton.
A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said: “The extended timetable is designed to enable potential applicants to make adequate preparations for a fair, open and robust competition.”
The six-month rights extension is now the latest stall in the search for the competition’s new license holder following on from a two-month delay in the bidding process announced back in February as the UKGC failed to provide vital procurement provisions for its tender suitors.
Operating the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, Camelot’s decision is expected to frustrate its rivals including Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Czech gambling conglomerate Sazka Group, owned by energy billionaire Karel Komarek, among others keen to take over the contests reigns.
Sazka issued the following statement: “We continue to review the draft invitation to apply issued by the Gambling Commission to determine our response and are monitoring the situation closely.”
Former owner of the Express newspapers and media mogul Richard Desmond is also among those who have expressed an interest in taking over from Camelot in 2023, with the search for the National Lottery’s next operator now coming close to hitting the year mark.