Camelot set for six-month UK National Lottery extension

22 June 2020

Camelot Group is set to sign an extension to its contract to continue operating the UK’s National Lottery for an additional six months to the end of July 2023, with a tender process for the next licence having been delayed by three months.

Speaking to iGB, a Camelot spokesperson said that the operator has received notice in writing from the GB Gambling Commission to extend the Third Licence to run the National Lottery.

“We remain focused on continuing to build on the strong performance we have achieved over the last three years and delivering even more money for good causes, funding which is vitally important during this unprecedented time,” the spokesperson said.

A Commission spokesperson confirmed that the launch of the tender has now been officially delayed by three months, primarily due to challenges caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Commission did not disclose exactly when the process would commence, but it did state that the Selection Questionnaire, which marks the first phase of the competition, would not be issued before August.

Given that the last target was the first half of the year, this seems to suggest that the tender will launch in either late September or early October.

“Having considered the market’s feedback on challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided to delay the launch of the competition by three months," the GC spokesperson explained. “As a result, the Selection Questionnaire will not be issued before August and we will review the circumstances up until that point.

“During this period of high uncertainty, the extended timetable is designed to enable potential applicants to make adequate preparations for a fair, open and robust competition.”

Camelot has operated the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, with new contracts awarded to the company in 2001 and 2007. It’s most recent licence had been due to expire at the start of 2023.

The Commission had been set to launch the tender to award the fourth National Lottery licence early this year and last July announced the appointment of two executives to lead the process. John Tanner was to serve as executive director and senior responsible officer, with support from Andrew Wilson as commercial director.

However, the process, which was expected to begin in March, was delayed, which led to criticism from potential bidders, who said that this reduced the chances of a serious challenge to Camelot’s tenure. At the time, both the Commission and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it would launch in the first half of the year.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the UK National Lottery was able to generate a record £7.91bn (€8.76bn/$9.82bn) in total ticket sales in its 2019-20 fiscal year, aided by significant year-on-year growth from its digital offering.

Overall sales in the 12 months to 31 March 2020 were up 9.7% from £7.21bn in the same period in the previous year, with investment in digital channels leading to record online sales of £2.46bn, up 34.0% on last year, and the first time sales for Camelot's online offering surpassed £2.0bn.