National Lottery

The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed an extended timeline for phase two of the fourth National Lottery licence competition, which has subsequently seen Camelot UK’s current contract extended by six months.

The regulator says that the decision follows representations from applicants and experience from phase one, with the amended timeline to see four weeks added to the phase two application stage and a further six weeks for evaluation.

The decision will see the winner of the multi-billion UK government contract be announced in February 2022, as the Commission withdraws its original forecast of aiming to announce the competition’s winner by September/October 2021.  

To ensure a smooth transition, the third National Lottery licence has been extended by six months, with the winner of the fourth tender to begin operating from February 2024. An intention of confirming the preferred applicant is expected in February 2022

“All dates are indicative and may evolve in line with market feedback and the continued national, and international, impact of COVID-19, all of which we are keeping under constant review,” the UKGC confirmed in a statement.

“Our job is to run the best competition we possibly can – one that is open and fair and results in the best outcome for players and good causes. We want to appoint a licensee that can build on the National Lottery’s legacy and find new opportunities for a sustainable and successful future.

“We remain encouraged by the number of applications received and we look forward to evaluating phase two proposals as part of a robust process.”

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.

Camelot UK has operated the lottery since it was established in 1994, after winning new contracts in both 2001 and 2007. The group’s third, and current, ten-year licence commenced in 2009 and was subsequently extended by four years in March 2012.

Seeking to build on past successes, the regulator has previously outlined a number of key changes for the fourth licence, including a fixed ten-year term, focus on performance and an incentive mechanism to ensure the licensee’s incentives and delivery are closely aligned with returns to good causes.