UK National Lottery’s Incoming Operator Wants to Buy Camelot

Allwyn Entertainment is working on taking over the UK’s National Lottery after beating out incumbent operator Camelot. Striking while the iron’s hot, Allwyn now wants to purchase the competitor while it’s already down.

National Lottery sign
National Lottery sign
A UK National Lottery sign outside a vendor’s store. Inbound operator Allwyn is reportedly discussing buying incumbent Camelot UK. (Image: Yorkshire Live)

Allwyn’s win of the National Lottery was nothing short of a major coup. Camelot UK’s nearly 30-year-old unbroken reign as the operator is coming to an end after it first arrived in 1994.

Camelot tried to stop the takeover, filing a complaint with the UK’s High Court, claiming that losing the license would end its existence. It lost its fight, and if it’s really going to dissolve into nothing, the UK subsidiary of the Czech lottery giant Sazka wants to buy it.

Business Basics

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund currently owns Camelot UK, but perhaps not for long. Sky News reports that Allwyn could pay up to £100 million (US$114.88 million) to purchase the lottery operator if the two sides can reach an agreement. They’re currently in “advanced discussions.”

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) selected Allwyn to be its preferred applicant for the National Lottery in March. In September, the regulator then awarded the license.

The transition process is now underway, with Allwyn to officially take over the Lottery as of February 2024. The company has already started setting up shop, opening its first offices in the town of Watford, the same location as Camelot.

Camelot is likely in a position where it can’t haggle over price. If it doesn’t sell, by its own admission, it could lose 100% of its value. At least selling to Allwyn allows it to squeeze the UK economy one last time.

By suggesting a purchase, Allwyn can gain access to more of the National Lottery data in advance of its 2024 takeover. The UKGC allegedly received word of the current discussions and would have to facilitate the dissemination of any data, as well as the purchase.

The purchase would also remove one final hurdle for Allwyn. Camelot wants compensation over the UKGC decision to give control to its rival, and a deal would bring any legal challenges to a dead stop. A separate lawsuit from IGT would fall as well.

UK Gambling Still in Flux

The UKGC is focusing on updating the way it reviews the gambling industry and oversees the Allwyn-Camelot deal. At the same time, the country’s government continues to be a revolving door of leaders who are prolonging the largest gambling reform in years.

From Boris Johnson to Liz Truss to Rishi Sunak, the UK has seen three prime ministers in less than five months. Sunak is reorganizing Truss’s reorganization, and there is now a new gambling minister in the mix.

Conservative Party MP Paul Scully is now the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy. One of the functions includes serving as the UK’s Gambling Minister. He takes over for Damian Collins, who took over for Chris Philp only three months ago.

Scully will report to Michelle Donelan, who survived the reshuffling and will continue as the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. With all of the recent changes, there are renewed concerns that the gambling white paper will have to be put on the back burner once again.

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