Who runs the National Lottery? What is Karel Komarek’s gambling empire Allwyn and how did Camelot lose licence

Andy Carter, senior winners' adviser at The National Lottery (Credit: Camelot) Andy Carter, senior winners' adviser at The National Lottery (Credit: Camelot)
Andy Carter, senior winners' adviser at The National Lottery (Credit: Camelot) | Camelot

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Camelot is set to lose its licence to run the UK National Lottery with rivals Allwyn set  to take over from 2024

After three decades of Camelot running the National Lottery, the Gambling Commission has announced Allwyn is the preferred applicant for the next licence.

Since its launch in 1994, the National Lottery has raised more than £45bn for good causes such as arts, sport and heritage across the UK.

It has also made more than 6,300 people millionaires.

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Find out everything you need to know about the National Lottery take over here.

Why is Camelot losing the National Lottery licence?

The Gambling Commission awarded Camelot a ten year licence to run the National Lottery in 2009 - its third licence renewal.

In 2012, seven years before the licence period was due to end, the commission already decided to extend Camelot’s licence by four years to 2023.

This month, however, the Gambling commission announced it would not be renewing Camelot’s National Lottery licence again.

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Instead, Allwyn Entertainment Ltd is the preferred applicant for the lottery’s next licence.

Camelot is the ‘reserve applicant’ - in case anything prevents Allwyn from taking over.

The other applicants were Sisal Spa, CVC and The New Lottery Company Ltd.

Who owns Camelot?

Camelot began running the National Lottery in 1994, when it first launched.

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The Camelot Group’s third licence period started in 2009 and runs out in February 2024.

In 2004, the transnational lottery EuroMillions entered the UK lottery market.

In 2009, when the current licence period started, Camelot increased the money given to good causes, and commission for retailers increased by 1%.

In October 2013, Camelot doubled the ticket price of Lotto, its main game, to £2.

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Nigel Railiton became CEO of the Camelot group in 2017, amid a dramatic drop of lottery ticket sales.

It has also operated the Illinois State Lottery, in the state of Illinois in the United States, since 2018.

Camelot’s headquarters is in Watford, and it currently has 1,000 employees.

Who owns Allwyn?

Allwyn is a UK-based company that is part of the Czech group, Sazka, which is Europe’s largest lottery operator.

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Allwyn is owned by Czech businessman Karel Komarek, who made his money in the gas and oil industry. Komarek has a personal wealth of £4.2bn, according to reports, and is the founder of investment group KKCG.

Lotteries in Austria, Czech Republic, Greece and Italy are currently operated by Allwyn.

The company brings in over £14bn a year, through 64,000 points of sale, including digitally.

Allwyn has proposed to reduce the UK National Lottery ticket prices back to £1.

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