The Daily Telegraph

Allwyn cleared to run the National Lottery

- By Laura Onita

THE National Lottery is to be taken over by Czech-owned gambling business Allwyn after current operator Camelot dropped a legal challenge aimed at delaying the handover.

The move clears the way for Allwyn – controlled by Czech billionair­e Karel Komárek – to run Britain’s largest betting competitio­n after nearly three decades of ownership under Camelot.

Allwyn said in a statement last night that it was “excited at the prospect of becoming the custodian of Europe’s biggest lottery”.

Camelot launched a High Court challenge earlier this year against the Gambling Commission’s decision to name Allwyn as preferred applicant for the 10-year licence, claiming that officials had got the decision “badly wrong”.

The lawsuit forced a temporary suspension of the licence award, leading to a delay that could have “severe consequenc­es for the National Lottery and good causes”, according to the com- mission at the time.

A 10-year licence to run the Lottery is the UK’S biggest public sector contract. It is expected to generate between £80bn and £100bn in ticket sales.

Camelot will now allow the transfer to go ahead, but the lawsuit is still scheduled to happen. Camelot will be in line for damages if its claims that the contract was awarded wrongly are upheld, but it will not be able to get the decision reversed.

Camelot declined to comment. The Gambling Commission was contacted for comment.

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