UK’s All Party Betting and Gaming Group slams Camelot and hails decision to award National Lottery licence to Allwyn

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British MP Scott Benton, chair of the Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group (APBGG), has celebrated the Gambling Commission’s decision to award the fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn.

The Gambling Commission announced earlier this week that current National Lottery operator Camelot would lose the lottery concession in 2024 and be replaced by Allwyn, the Czech lottery operator formerly known as Sazka.

Benton congratulated the regulator on its selection, pointing out a number of concerns over the ways in which Camelot had operated the National Lottery in recent years.

One problem, he said, was that the operator appeared to be disproportionately focused on selling instant win games, which return a smaller proportion of their revenue to charitable good causes when compared to draw-based lottery games.

This has coincided with a reduction in the proportion of National Lottery proceeds going to charitable causes from 28% in 2012/13 to 21% in 2020/21, according to the parliamentary group. Camelot contests it achieved record sales in each of the last two years, resulting in the best-ever returns to good causes from ticket sales last year.

Other concerns included the marketing messages used by Camelot in the promotion of National Lottery products. Slogans such as “Set For Life”, “The fun starts here” and “Dream Big Play Small” are thought to be at odds with the marketing regulations imposed upon non-lottery operators, and nationally-enforced responsible gambling messaging such as “When the fun stops, stop” or “Take time to think”. 

“As co-chair of the All Party Betting and Gaming Group, I am happy to finally congratulate the Gambling Commission on something and that is choosing an alternative to Camelot to run the National Lottery,” commented Benton. 

“It would appear that Camelot has decided to take advantage of its position as the country’s guardian of good causes to become just another gambling operator, exploiting the benefits that its licence provides in terms of advertising and access. 

“We wish Allwyn Entertainment the very best of luck in its endeavours for the next decade and hope that it will bring some very much needed innovation to Britain’s most loved gambling product,” he added. 

The APBGG was set up by a group of British parliamentarians who had taken part in numerous debates that led to the creation of the UK’s Gambling Act 2005, which is likely to be amended this year following a lengthy review into gambling regulation to determine whether it remains fit for the digital age. 

Members of the group are regularly the main contributors to discussions around gambling in the UK parliament, and maintain a view that gambling should be legal and well-regulated. Above all, the group says, it wishes to engage with stakeholders in the UK gambling industry to learn from them, inform debate and maintain independence of views.

Allwyn is now expected to engage in a 22-month transition period leading to its takeover of the National Lottery in 2024.

“The National Lottery is a vital British institution and we’re focused on ensuring it plays an even bigger part in society by increasing participation, improving safeguards and giving back more to good causes,” said Justin King, former CEO of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and soon-to-be chair of Allwyn’s UK lottery operations.

About the author

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Conor Mulheir

Conor entered the gaming industry in 2018 producing high-level live event content for audiences in London, Amsterdam and São Paulo. From 2020, he went on to report news and commission exclusive content for various gaming media brands before joining iGaming NEXT as editor in January 2022.

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