DCMS summons inquiry of National Lottery competition process  

DCMS has launched an inquiry to evaluate and examine its handling of the ‘competition process’ of the National Lottery’s operating tender. 

Despite facing several COVID-19 related headwinds, the ‘Fourth National Lottery Competition’ was officially launched on 28 August 2020 – overseen by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and its Advisory Panel.

The ongoing multi-billion competition seeks to award the next 10-year operating licence of the National Lottery, the current stewardship of which is led by Camelot UK.

The UKGC launched the competition in order to ensure the Lottery “maximises the opportunities for players and good causes to benefit from innovation and creativity, whilst protecting the National Lottery’s unique status.”

Withstanding setbacks, DCMS maintains its competition schedule, in which the ‘preferred candidate’ is expected to be announced in September, commencing a two-year transition period to take charge of the National Lottery.

Scrutiny of the competition is required, due to wider concerns that “returns for good causes had not increased at the same rate as the profits of the current operator, Camelot’.

As a result of these concerns, the DCMS confirmed that ‘changes will be made to the operation of the licence to require that contributions to these causes will rise in a similar proportion to profits”.

In order to achieve this goal, DCMS requires stakeholder feedback evaluating: –

  • How effectively the Fourth Competition was run
  • How returns for good causes should be calculated under the Fourth Licence
  • How to ensure a smooth transition between the Third and Fourth licence periods?
  • What further factors should determine the success of the Fourth licence and its impact on UK gambling and wider society.

The competition has attracted individual bids from Allwyn (SAZKA), Northern & Shell Group, Sisal and Sugal & Damani (bid retired) as the rivals seeking to displace Camelot UK as the operating company of the National Lottery.

“The National Lottery has raised £43 billion for good causes since its launch in 1994. We want to make sure its future is in good hands,” said DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP.

“Our concern is not only with the operation of the competition to find the next operator, but also with the Gambling Commission that is overseeing the process.

“Crucially we’ll be asking what measures will be in place to ensure that when profits rise, it’s not just the operator that benefits, but good causes too.”

DCMS will maintain a deadline for submissions until Friday 10 September.

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