UK lottery regulator reprimanded for ‘mismanaged’ licensing process

UK lottery regulator reprimanded for ‘mismanaged’ licensing process

Britain’s gambling regulator oversaw a “mismanaged” competition process to determine the next National Lottery operator, a report by a cross-party group of MPs concludes.

The Gambling Commission in March chose Czech conglomerate Allwyn as the next National Lottery operator to replace incumbent Camelot.

However, Camelot and its technology provider International Game Technology (IGT) tried to overturn the decision in court, delaying the license transfer before finally dropping their legal challenge in September.

Allwyn announced on Saturday that it had agreed to buy Camelot in a £100 million deal to facilitate the transfer of operations before Allwyn officially takes over the 10-year National Lottery license in February 2024.

The House of Commons’ committee on digital, culture, media and sport said the games of chance committee had “followed its predecessors in overseeing a mismanaged league”. The regulator first assumed responsibility for supervising the lottery in 2013.

MPs also said they were “concerned” about reports that a new lawsuit, in which Camelot and IGT are seeking financial damages, could see up to £600m being withdrawn from the National Lottery’s charitable budget.

However, following the Allwyn takeover, Camelot is expected to drop the case, which is currently scheduled for January 2023, but IGT can still claim damages of up to £100 million. IGT did not respond to a request for comment.

The commission called on the Gaming Commission to “overhaul its design process for licensing games”.

The report added that the regulator should “monitor vigilantly” the Allwyn charity “to ensure fund distributors are not shortchanged again” following growing criticism of Camelot that profits rose despite declining ticket sales and donations .

In the year to March 31, Camelot raised £1.9 billion for organizations including UK Sport, the Arts Council and the British Film Institute.

“The next licensing term got off to an unfavorable start with perceived flaws in the contest process leading to a compensation claim that could ultimately short-change charities and other charities that rely on lottery funding,” said Julian Knight, committee chair. “The flaws need to be fixed for the future.”

“The Gambling Commission and new operator Allwyn now have an opportunity to work together to restore the link in the public mind between buying a ticket and supporting charities and projects in their local communities,” he added up to it.

The commission also called on the regulator to close the “loophole” that allows lottery participants to bet with a credit card, a practice banned on gambling sites, and said it must ensure that Allwyn pays at least 0.1 percent of its gross gambling return pays. to the charity GambleAware.

“We remain determined that we conducted fair and robust competition and that our evaluation was conducted fairly and lawfully in accordance with our legal duties,” the Gambling Commission said.

Allwyn said many of the DCMS committee’s recommendations are “already part of our plan” for the National Lottery. “Allwyn’s focus will be on generating revenue for charities in a safe and sustainable manner over the course of the ten-year license,” it added.

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