Northern & Shell Plc, the publishing group of Richard Desmond, will appeal the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) decision to award the 4th National Lottery operating contract to Allwyn Group.
According to a Financial Times report, Northern & Shell will join ousted incumbent Camelot UK in launching a High Court appeal against the UKGC’s decision to appoint Allwyn as National Lottery steward, effective 2024.
Under its subsidiary ‘the New Lottery Company’, Northern & Shell had participated in the UKGC’s tender competition.
Company founder and chairman Richard Desmond has been a long-standing critic of Camelot as the operating steward of the National Lottery for the past 30-years.
Yet circumstances have prompted Northern & Shell and Camelot to join forces to overturn the UKGC’s decision in the hope that the competition will be replayed.
Camelot seeks answers as to why its bid was rejected, having scored the highest ‘scorecard results’ during the competition’s evaluation phase of participants.
Furthermore, Camelot has demanded that UKGC disclose whether it changed any rules and conditions related to how participant bids were evaluated.
Standing by its result and judgement, the Commission outlined that from start-to-finish, it had applied every measure possible to ensure a level playing field for all competing parties.
In response to Camelot’s appeal, the UKGC maintains that the competition was a ‘fair, open and robust’ process, with Allwyn coming out on top due to its commitment to good causes and the growth of the National Lottery.
Of significance, Allwyn had pledged £38bn to help good causes over the 10-year contract, whilst Camelot has only raised £45bn since the National Lottery’s inception in 1994, raising concerns over the validity of the preferred applicant’s claims.
Allwyn has also recently courted criticism over alleged links between its chairman and founder, Karel Komarek, and Russian energy supplier Gazprom, amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Defending itself against Camelot’s legal appeal earlier this month, a UKGC statement read: “The competition and our evaluation have been carried out fairly and lawfully in accordance with our statutory duties, and we are confident that a court would come to that conclusion.”