Government looks to technology and innovation as it prepares to retender National Lottery

Market consultation exercise gets underway as regulator looks to widen engagement with tech firms

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

As it prepares to retender the franchise for the National Lottery, the government has instructed the market that it wants to hear from more tech firms and focus on “innovation and flexibility”.

An early-engagement notice published today by the Gambling Commission suggests that, after 25 years and counting of being run exclusively by Camelot Group, the government is open to the idea working with a range of partners to deliver the lottery in the future.

It said: “We would like to hear from existing lottery operators, new entrants, businesses and investors interested in the National Lottery, which could include end-to-end solution operators and/or finance or technology providers.”

The engagement notice flags up the extent to which the nature of the lottery has changed – particularly in terms of players’ use of online platforms – since the franchise was last re-let in 2007.

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“The context for the National Lottery has changed since the third licence was awarded,” the government said. “For example, technology-based products and services have been widely introduced and continue to change rapidly. We want to explore opportunities for innovation and flexibility for the fourth licence and we want to ensure that the National Lottery is relevant and attractive to all parts of society, in line with our priorities and statutory duties.”

The decade-long contract awarded to Camelot in 2007 came into effect in 2009 and, following a four-year extension, is due to expire in 2023. 

That deal is the third awarded to Camelot, which was formed as a consortium in order to take part in the initial franchise bidding process when the National Lottery was introduced in 1994, before retaining the contract in 2001.

For the rest of January, the Gambling Commission – a non-departmental government agency responsible for regulating gambling and gaming in the UK – will be “undertaking initial market engagement”. This will be followed by “more detailed discussions” with potential providers and other interested parties over the course of 2019.

The lottery generated revenue of £6.9bn last year, the government said, with 14 million people taking part in one of its draws each month.

Sam Trendall

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