Camelot Group’s legal action against the country’s gambling regulatory body continued its High Court action this week, with the incumbent National Lottery operator maintaining its position about its contract to run the NL.
According to reports, a representative of the company informed the High Court that if the fourth 10-year operating permit for the National Lottery is actually awarded to the preferred candidate of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – Allwyn – Camelot Group would cease to exist.
The concerns revealed by the current holder of the National Lottery’s operating permit are linked to the fact that the company was the only one that has so far run the NL since its inception in 1994. Camelot Group’s representative has now claimed that the transition of the contract to the new operator of choice of the UKGC in less than two years is likely to force the Canadian-owned firm to effectively cease operations.
As reported by The Daily Mail, the legal representative of the UK gambling regulator, Sarah Hannaford QC has highlighted the fact that Camelot UK served as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) – a company that was created with the sole goal of running the UK National Lottery back in the 90s. Furthermore, she noted that as such, there was always a possibility for the company of losing its only contract.
According to Ms Hannaford QC, Camelot Group uses invalid arguments because the licence it owns only allows it to offer the National Lottery’s services and some ancillary activities if the UKGC agrees so. In her opinion, making a warning that there was an existential threat to the business while the company was set up as an SPV was simply an invalid legal argument since losing the licence was perfectly foreseeable for the Canadian-owned company.
UKGC’s Barrister Says Camelot Provides Unconvincing Financial Loss Evidence
As the legal representative of the UKGC told the High Court, the evidence of financial loss that was provided by Camelot Group was “nowhere near” convincing. As for the lawsuit that was launched by the International Game Technology (IGT), which supplies lottery technology to Camelot, Ms Hannaford QC believes that the software supplier is likely to suffer small financial losses as a result of the planned transition, especially considering the fact that IGT currently has a massive global presence and the UK National Lottery is only a small portion of it.
As Casino Guardian reported, the country’s gambling regulatory body held a lengthy licence application process and eventually decided to choose the Czech Republic operator as the one to assume the role of National Lottery operator as of February 2024. The decision, however, triggered an immediate reaction from the current holder of the operating permit, which started legal action against the UKGC to block the further execution of the procedure and stop Allwyn from receiving the National Lottery licence.
Camelot Group filed a lawsuit appealing the UKGC decision to choose Allwyn as the operator of the UK National Lottery in April. At the time, the chief executive officer of the company, Nigel Railton, noted that the gambling watchdog had failed to provide a satisfactory explanation why Camelot’s bid was rejected. The Gambling Commission, however, continues to claim that the process of application and evaluation has been carried out in a lawful, fair and transparent manner in line with the regulator’s statutory duties.
Allwyn’s victory in the application process has also been widely criticised by some politicians, who have drawn some attention to the fact that Kamel Komarek, the owner of the company, allegedly had certain ties to Russia in the wake of the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine.