London’s High Court will have to weigh in on whether the UK National Lottery may continue to operate or whether it will be stalled due to the legal battle between the UK Gambling Commission on the one hand and the outgoing lottery operator, Camelot, on the other.
After losing the fourth selection process to Allwyn Entertainment, Camelot vowed to amend what it saw was wrong. The operator claimed that the UKGC has provided scant details and has breached some key aspects of the selection process.
The regulator has adamantly denied any wrongdoing. Camelot then began citing transgressions allegedly committed by the regulator, such as the use of good causes funds to support the bid. If the issue is not settled soon, there are at least several things that may adversely impact the National Lottery.
A Jarndyce vs Jarndyce Case
Solving the issue by 2024, when Allwyn Entertainment should take over, is ideal, but it’s also not very likely unless a settlement is found out beforehand. The contract that Camelot lost is worth £80 billion or some $108 billion and the company is not very likely to let go easily.
There have been reports that should Camelot lose this contract; its UK arm will simply fold and go bankrupt. Whatever the reason, Camelot feels justified in pursuing it. But fears for consumers and the lottery remain. One such qualm is that if there is no legally-picked operator, winners of lottery prizes may get stuck and their payouts put on hold indefinitely.
Another fear is that the license may not be able to pass from Camelot to Allwyn. There have been already calling that should such as scenario transpire, it’s very likely that a settlement may not come for years, essentially blocking the lottery operations. But the UKGC is confident that no such thing would occur. The regulator reminded us that any purposeful delays would also hurt good causes.
Neck and Neck in the Final Scoring
Camelot feels justified in pursuing a similar course of action for several reasons it seems. First, the operator argues that it has significantly increased its donations to good causes. The fact that the UKGC had to tap into that money to conduct the process perhaps gives Camelot some legal argument to challenge the watchdog as well.
Meanwhile, Allwyn and Camelot came very close in the final scoring by the UKGC. Allwyn pulled ahead with 87.2% compared to 85.7% for Camelot. The issue that Camelot cited though was the 15% discount that the company accounted for but was never applied to the final scoring. At least this is what the operator argues. Allwyn has mostly remained quiet during this time.
Allwyn is capable of taking over the lottery operations, but Camelot’s assistance would be much appreciated. However, until a legal outcome is found out, it would be hard to guarantee the smooth – if any – transition of operators. The UKGC may stand to lose as much as $1.2 billion.
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