Gambling Commission pushes back National Lottery licence tender timetable

The Gambling Commission has pushed the selection of the winner of the UK’s fourth National Lottery licence tender back until February 2022.

As a result, the current licence holder, Camelot, will have its licence extended by six more months to February 2024.

Commission extends timetable

Today, the British Gambling Commission has extended the timeline for the second phase of the Fourth National Lottery licence competition to continue evaluating bids.

The tender, which was announced in August 2020, was initially set to last a year with a winner to be selected in September 2021.

The Commission has decided to extend the second phase of the application stage by four weeks, in addition to adding another six weeks for the regulator to assess bids.

According to the Commission’s update, the “will provide opportunity for applicants to further refine their proposals and for the Commission to evaluate.”

To help facilitate the extended timelines, the Commission will also extend the third National Lottery licence, which is held by Camelot, by six months. This means the winner of the fourth licence will begin in February 2024.

The Commission now plans to announce the preferred applicant in February 2022. 

The regulator did note that the “dates are indicative and may evolve in line with market feedback and the continued national, and international, impact of COVID-19.”

In its announcement, the Commission said: “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.”

Who is bidding for the fourth licence?

Several companies are competing for the National Lottery’s next licence including Sazka Group, Sisal, and Sugal & Damani.

In October 2020, the Pan-European lottery and gambling operator Sazka Group became the first company to announce it would be for the licence. Later that same month, Sugal & Damani, India’s largest lottery operator, also entered the race for the license. 

The Italian operator Sisal entered the competition for the licence in April 2021, and has recently partnered with BT to help support the bid.

Camelot completed the selection questionnaire in October but has yet to confirm whether it will bid for the fourth licence.

The National Lottery’s performance

Yesterday, the Commission also published data on how the money raised from lottery sales were distributed to good causes for the  National Lottery’s first quarter of the financial year, ending 30 June.

According to the figures, the lottery raised £420.7m, up 10.0% from Q1 of 2020-21, but down from any of the three previous quarters.

In June, it was also revealed that National Lottery sales hit a record £8.37bn for 2021-21.

The new record was attributed to a spike in digital sales which totaled £3.51bn, a 42.8% year-on-year increase.

Camelot recorded an £873.4m increase in sales across National Lottery’s mobile products to reach an all-time high of £2.48bn, with the majority of those sales being made via the National Lottery’s apps.