UK National Lottery Details Licensing Process, Winner to Be Announced in 2021

Posted on: August 31, 2020, 11:14h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2020, 01:18h.

The UK National Lottery operating license currently held by Camelot Group is set to expire in 2023. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) says the competitive bidding process for the coveted lottery permit is officially underway.

UK National Lottery Camelot license
The UK National Lottery license is up for grabs. (Image: National Lottery)

The UK lottery is the fifth-largest in the world in terms of revenue. Since its launch in 1994, more than £41 billion ($54.8 billion) has been raised for charitable causes. The next license, the Lottery’s fourth, seeks to build on that success by way of a new framework that maximizes players’ That is expected to result in higher revenues for the lottery and its beneficiaries.

Key changes for the fourth license include a fixed 10-year run. Camelot was awarded the National Lottery operating privileges in 1994. It has received two additional National Lottery licenses, with its current contract slated to end in two years.

The UKGC is developing incentives that will be included in the next lottery license contract that will encourage the licensee to make investments in new games and programs. The Gaming Commission is focused on maximizing performance and returns, while simultaneously protecting the brand.

The UKGC has issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) notices to numerous domestic and international lottery operators. The documents explain how interested companies can apply, with the preferred applicant to be announced in September of 2021.

End of Camelot Era?

Camelot has held the lone operating permit throughout the UK National Lottery’s 26-year history. While Camelot is the front-runner for the fourth term, it’s far from a done deal.

In 2018, the UKGC launched a global program to gauge interest amounts of businesses and investors in the future of the National Lottery. The UKGC is focused on limiting societal harm gambling might inflict on people, and recently announced plans to raise the lottery playing age from 16 to 18.

Camelot supports the higher minimum lottery age. The 18+ requirement is another key change to the fourth National Lottery license contract.

Throughout our market engagement, we have been encouraged by a healthy level of interest from a range of different parties, and we look forward to running a competitive process,” explained McArthur. Lottery operators that could make a bid include IGT and Scientific Games.  

“The National Lottery is a national treasure. It has a reputation for providing enjoyable games and a high degree of player protection, as well as a rich history of prize giving and returns to good causes. We are determined to protect and build on the reputation of the National Lottery,” McArthur added.

Millionaires in the Making 

Since 1994, the National Lottery says the nearly $55 billion in funds won have been distributed to good causes across the UK that have supported 565,000 projects. The Lottery says the proceeds help in “transforming lives and contributing to the arts, sport, heritage, and communities.”

The National Lottery has created 5,700 new millionaires since 1994 and awarded more than $100 billion in prize money.

“The fourth license competition will secure the National Lottery’s future, combining safe play with life-changing prizes,” stated Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston. “Most importantly, it will help raise billions of more pounds to benefit people’s lives in villages, towns, and cities throughout the country.”