Gambling Commission launches fourth National Lottery licence competition

The Gambling Commission has launched the process of awarding the fourth UK National Lottery licence.

Today, the Gambling Commission launched the process of awarding the fourth UK National Lottery operating licence and outlined several changes to its terms.

The current (third) contract is serviced by Camelot Group and will expire in July 2023.

The licensing process

With the launch of the licensing competition, the Gambling Commission said that it will award the licence to the applicant that “maximises the opportunities for players and good causes to benefit from innovation and creativity, whilst protecting the National Lottery’s unique status.”

The licensing process will begin with prospective bidders being required to formally register their interest in competing for the licence. Bidders that pass this stage will then receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) along with supporting documents to begin preparing their application. The successful applicant is set to be announced in September 2021.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “Today, the competition for the fourth National Lottery licence begins. Over the last quarter of a century, it has made an unprecedented contribution to communities across the UK and has made a difference to the lives of millions.

“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.”

UK Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston added: “The National Lottery has a positive impact on communities right across the UK, supporting thousands of good causes as well as the sectors that brighten up our lives including the arts, culture, heritage and sport.

“The fourth licence competition will secure the National Lottery’s future combining safe play with life-changing prizes,” Huddleston said. “Most importantly it will help raise billions more pounds to benefit people’s lives in villages, towns and cities throughout the country.”

Changes to the licence

In its announcement, the Commission outlined several changes to the contract that will be awarded to the successful bidder.

One of these changes will see the licence last for a fixed ten-year term, which according to the Commission would give the licensee a clear period for investment planning.

The successful licensee will also be granted more flexibility in how it operates the lottery, providing it with more scope to maximise returns to good causes while upholding high player protection standards.

Since its launch in 1994, the National Lottery has raised more than £41bn for 565,000 good causes across the UK.

Another change is the inclusion of a new incentive mechanism that will ensure the licensee’s incentives and delivery is closely aligned with returns to good causes. In addition to this, the successful licensee will be required to foster stronger relationships with the distributors of National Lottery funding to further strengthen the link between the National Lottery brand, its players, and good causes.

McArthur added: “For the fourth licence, we will be evolving our approach to regulation to build on the National Lottery’s huge successes. In line with our outcomes-focused approach to regulation, we want the next licensee to have greater autonomy to meet the needs of players in 2023 and beyond, whilst ensuring there is clear accountability for the performance of the National Lottery.

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