The UK Gambling Commission has given the go-ahead for Czech-owned gaming group Allwyn to acquire current UK Lottery operator Camelot. Allwyn, which is set to become the next operator of the National Lottery, welcomed the news and said the transaction will facilitate a “smooth” transition once it takes over as operator in February 2024.
“Allwyn’s ownership of Camelot will also produce greater clarity and certainty for the future of The National Lottery, for the good causes that it funds and for the employees of both Camelot and Allwyn,” said the company in a statement. “Allwyn looks forward to welcoming Camelot into the Allwyn family and working closely on the transition from the Third to the Fourth Licence.”
News of the deal first surfaced in October last year, when Allwyn announced it was in advanced talks to purchase the business from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) in a deal reportedly worth approximately £100 million ($124 million). Although now approved by the UKGC, the acquisition still remains subject to certain other regulatory conditions.
The agreement covers all of Camelot’s UK operations, including the current rights to operate the National Lottery until February 2024. Once Allwyn takes over next year, the license change will mark a historic end to Camelot’s 28-year tenure as operator. Confirmation of the approval comes after Allwyn this month also finalized a deal to acquire the US-facing Camelot Lottery Solutions unit of companies from Ontario Teachers.
Robert Chvátal, CEO of Allwyn Group and Interim CEO of Allwyn UK, commented: “Today marks an important milestone in our journey to become the operator of The National Lottery. Acquiring Camelot will help ensure a smooth transition from the Third to the Fourth Licence, while bringing together the collective expertise and technical know-how of two highly experienced lottery operators.”
Chvátal further said Allwyn is “thrilled” to welcome Camelot into the family, and that both parties will work toward a common goal of protecting and improving the National Lottery, and the good causes it supports. Moreover, a number of changes to Camelot’s Board and Management team, to take effect upon the completion of the deal, were announced.
Once the deal is finalized, Clare Swindell and Neil Brocklehurst, currently Camelot’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Commercial Director, respectively, will become Co-Chief Executives and will lead Camelot through to the end of the Third Licence in January 2024.
Camelot’s current Chairman Sir Hugh Robertson and CEO Nigel Railton will step down from the Board, amongst others. Sir Keith Mills is expected to be appointed as the new Chair at closing of the transaction, subject to regulatory approvals.
Camelot CEO Nigel Railton
Swindell first joined Camelot in 2017 as CFO and was appointed to the Board in September 2019. Before joining Camelot, she was Group CFO at dunnhumby and held a number of senior finance roles at Tesco, including as CFO for Tesco.com.
For his part, Brocklehurst has worked for Camelot in a variety of senior roles for 15 years and became Commercial Director in 2018. His lottery experience includes working in the UK, Ireland and North America within Camelot Global, including as interim Managing Director.
Robert Chvátal further commented: “I would like to thank Sir Hugh and Nigel for their contribution to the success of The National Lottery. I am delighted to appoint Clare and Neil as Co-Chief Executives, both of whom have enormous experience in the operation of Camelot and The National Lottery.”