The UK lottery will get a new operator as of 2024, and that firm – Allwyn – is not doing things by half.
They were recommended to the government as the UK Gambling Commission’s preferred supplier earlier this year, and it has been confirmed that Allwyn will take over the running of the Lotto, Thunderball and other draws when the current licence runs out in January 2024.
Allwyn, a Czech firm aided in their licence application by the appointment of Seb Coe and Sir Keith Mills to their board, already run the lotteries in Austria, Italy, Greece and their native Czech Republic.
Now, Allwyn have gone a stage further in their lottery by dominance by buying out Camelot, the company they have usurped as the UK’s operator.
The two outfits have not exactly seen eye to eye over the past year, with Camelot even threatening Allwyn and the Gambling Commission with legal action over their belief that the regulator had ‘inaccurately’ graded the firms in their licencing assessment.
That action was dropped, and Allwyn stepped up a gear by agreeing to purchase Camelot in a deal thought to be worth £100 million.
When Camelot were threatening to drag the Commission and Allwyn through the courts, there were real concerns that any legal case would delay the transition of the lottery licence.
That, in turn, would see a hold up in money being donated to the National Lottery’s charitable causes – for context, that’s a staggering £20 million or more every single week.
But the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, who bizarrely own Camelot, has agreed to sell up to Allwyn after ceasing their legal action. According to reports, the takeover will be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
That means that, effectively, Allwyn will take over the running of the UK lottery a year earlier than scheduled, which will smooth the transition from Camelot, who have run the various lotto draws on these shores since the lottery was established way back in 1994.
Counting the Cost?
In spite of, or perhaps because of, the cost-of-living crisis, lottery sales continue to grow.
Allwyn have reported that inflation, and rising food and energy bills, have only had a ‘limited’ impact on the number of tickets being sold, which suggests that players are still dreaming of that big win maybe now more than ever.
In their European markets, Allwyn reported an increase in Gross Gaming Revenue of 23% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period a year earlier, so challenging economic conditions do not appear to be having an effect on the lottery.
Camelot have also reported on an excellent year for the UK lottery. Their first-half-of-the-year sales surpassed the £4 billion mark for the first time in their 28-year history, and outperformed the same period of 2021 by a staggering £102.5 million.
The good news, not that Camelot shareholders needed any more, is that contributions to charitable good causes for the first six months of 2022 was just shy of £1 billion – another record.
What Will the New UK Lottery Be Like?
In February 2024, Allwyn will take over the UK National Lottery licence under their own steam.
They have already promised an array of changes, and the good news for players is that ticket prices are set to be slashed – that could even be introduced earlier now that Allwyn have acquired Camelot.
Lotto ticket prices will be cut from £2 back to £1, with Allwyn bosses plotting the possibility of two Saturday night draws.
They have also committed to raising the amount donated to charity, while spending extra funds promoting online ticket sales to a younger audience – two of the key factors that saw Allwyn excel under the Commission’s grading criteria.
“Allwyn’s plans will transform and improve the way the National Lottery operates; bringing more efficiency, greatly improving convenience and access for participation, utilising technology to protect players from gambling harm and providing new and exciting ways to play,” a statement from the firm read. “Allwyn will invest in retailers to support the recovery and transformation of high streets up and down the country.”
With new ways to play online, the UK lottery could change wholesale over the next few years. Perhaps for the better, too, with ticket prices sliced and more money handed to charity.
If only our chances of winning the jackpot could be increased….