UK National Lottery operator Camelot has now dropped its appeal against a legal ruling over the handover of its license to rival Allwyn Entertainment. Camelot, which has run the national lottery since it was launched in 1994, has withdrawn the legal challenge that would have resulted in it going to the court of appeal next week.
Global lottery operator Allwyn was voted the preferred applicant by the UK Gambling Commission to take over the lottery back in March. The company has welcomed Camelot's decision to drop its appeal before the court, and has agreed to waive all claims for costs or damages against Camelot.
“Allwyn very much welcomes this decision and looks forward to cooperating with Camelot and the Gambling Commission on the transition process. Allwyn is excited at the prospect of becoming the custodian of Europe’s biggest lottery," the company wrote in a press release.
The UK Gambling Commission's pick of Allwyn as its preferred applicant for the fourth license to operate the Lottery was contested in a legal challenge shortly after it was announced earlier this year. In June, the court ruled to lift the automatic suspension preventing the UKGC from entering into agreements with Allwyn to commence the transition process.
The ruling was then appealed by Camelot and International Game Technology, resulting in the suspension continuing. Now, that move has been dropped, which Allwyn sees as paving the way for it to become "the custodian of Europe's biggest lottery." The company would take over from February 2024.
Camelot decided not to proceed with the appeal after it emerged that more than £1 billion ($1.1 billion) for good causes could be lost over its legal action if it delayed the handover of the £6.4 billion ($7.4 billion) contract, as reported by The Observer. "Camelot is no longer seeking to prevent the enabling agreement being signed prior to the procurement trial which will now take place in January/February," a spokesperson said Tuesday.
Camelot had suggested the regulator’s assessors flagged “implausible” revenue forecasts at Allwyn, owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komarek, and accused the regulator on the grounds of breaking the law when it allegedly discarded Camelot’s score in the system that measures the bids. The current operator claims it would have been appointed had the commission not made a “manifest error."
This was contested by the UK's regulator. "We have taken every step possible to ensure a level playing field for all interested parties, to enable us to appoint a licensee who will engage and protect players, run the National Lottery with integrity and ensure the National Lottery maximizes support for good causes and its contribution to society through further innovation and investment," the UKGC defended its decision earlier this year.