DCMS opens Select Committee hearings on National Lottery funding and conduct performance 

A DCMS Select Committee will host its first hearing as an assessment of the National Lottery’s licence competition on Tuesday 30 November. 

The hearing, hosted under the domain of “What Next for the National Lottery?” – will receive oral evidence on the performance of Camelot UK as the steward of the National Lottery raising funds for UK sports and good causes.

The committee is examining the National Lottery licence competition process amidst criticism that the current operators, Camelot, have increased profits at a faster rate than funding for good causes,” read the committee’s statement.

Camelot’s performance will be examined with regards to “gambling-related harm and whether there is enough recognition that playing the lottery is a form of gambling”.

The Committee stated that it required evidence on whether the National Lottery had held its responsibilities in representing the dangers of gambling, as the UK’s most common form of gambling participation.

Providing evidence to MPs on their lived experiences of National Lottery funding will be a panel of Team GB athletes – including three-time Olympic Gold medalist swimmer Adam Peaty, who will be joined by Paralympic Gold medalist rower Lauren Rowles and Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Robinson. 

The Olympic panel will be followed by Anna Powell-Smith, Founder of the Centre for Public Data, and Dr Sasha Stark, Senior Researcher at the Responsible Gambling Council, who will provide feedback on Camelot’s fundraising performance and conduct duties. 

Camelot has vowed to optimise its funding performance that was lambasted by cross-party MPs following a 2017 National Audit Office (NAO) report revealing a meagre 2% rise in returns for good causes as Camelot claimed a 127% increase in corporate profits.

On corporate conduct, Camelot was criticised by Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE for failing to immediately increase the age-play of its lottery and scratchcard products to UK gambling’s standard of +18s.

Longfield’s criticism followed news reports that children aged 16-to-17 had spent £47 million on National Lottery games, amid wider concerns that 55,000 children aged 11-16 were classified with gambling disorders.

The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed that it has received four applications for the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition, with the winner set to be announced in February 2022 and the licence beginning in February 2024.

Launching its new competition, the UKGC underlined that it would favour the suitor that put forward the most innovative bid to modernise the National Lottery for a new generation of customers, to boost fundraising for good causes and revitalize the lottery’s retail proposition.

High stakes have been placed on the outcome of the fourth competition, as lottery observers state that future tender bids will be unlikely should the UK government maintain its contract with Camelot – in what has become an all-or-nothing scenario for National Lottery suitors.  

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