Allwyn, a subsidiary of the Czech investment group SAZKA, has received approval from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) for its proposed acquisition of Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery. The approval comes after months of scrutiny by the regulator, which has been conducting a thorough review of the deal to ensure that it complies with the UK’s strict regulatory framework.
In November 2020, Allwyn announced its intention to acquire Camelot, which has been operating the National Lottery since its inception in 1994. The proposed acquisition, which is reportedly worth around £3 billion, would see Allwyn take control of the lottery’s operations, including the sale of tickets, the management of prize funds, and the allocation of funds to good causes.
The deal has been closely watched by regulators and industry experts, who have raised concerns about the potential impact on the UK’s gambling market. The UKGC, in particular, has been conducting a thorough review of the deal with a focus on ensuring that it does not lead to a concentration of power in the industry.
On August 25, 2021, the UKGC announced that it had given its approval for the Allwyn-Camelot deal to proceed. In a statement, the regulator said that it had “carefully considered the application, including the proposed ownership structure, financial arrangements, and the character, competence, and integrity of the proposed owner.”
The UKGC also noted that it had conducted an extensive consultation process with stakeholders, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, the National Lottery Commission, and the Scottish and Welsh governments. The regulator said that it had received a “wide range of views” on the proposed acquisition but that it had ultimately concluded that it was “consistent with the regulatory objectives of the National Lottery Act.”
The approval of the Allwyn-Camelot deal is likely to have a significant impact on the UK’s gambling market, particularly in the lottery sector. Allwyn, which is owned by the Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, has significant experience in the European lottery market, having acquired a number of national lotteries in recent years.
Industry experts have suggested that Allwyn’s ownership of Camelot could lead to a more aggressive marketing strategy for the National Lottery, with a greater focus on digital channels and innovative products. The deal could also lead to increased competition in the UK lottery market as Allwyn seeks to expand its operations and challenge Camelot’s dominance.
However, the deal has also raised concerns about the potential impact on the UK’s wider gambling industry. Some experts have suggested that Allwyn’s ownership of Camelot could lead to a concentration of power in the sector, with one company controlling both the National Lottery and a significant proportion of the UK’s other gambling products.
The approval of the Allwyn-Camelot deal by the UKGC marks a significant milestone in the ongoing consolidation of the UK’s gambling market. The deal is likely to have a significant impact on the lottery sector, with Allwyn seeking to expand its operations and challenge the dominance of Camelot.
However, the deal also raises important questions about the concentration of power in the UK’s gambling industry. As the regulator of the sector, the UKGC will need to remain vigilant to ensure that the deal does not lead to a reduction in competition or harm to consumers.