Allwyn takes over as UK National Lottery operator
Allwyn has taken over from Camelot as the operator of the National Lottery – the first time the game has changed hands since its launch almost 30 years ago.
Aside from a fresh ad campaign with the catchline “Will You be Next?” and focusing on the original Lotto game launched in 1994, Allwyn hopes that players will notice little difference.
Planned maintenance has been going on behind the scenes since 11pm on Wednesday, with ticket sales expected to be operating as usual from 8.30am on Thursday.
The Gambling Commission said it had been working “incredibly hard” with Allwyn, Camelot and the Government to make sure the handover was “seamless”.
Over the next 10 years, our commitment is to increase returns to National Lottery-funded projects and build a legacy of change for good
Justin King, Allwyn chairman: The commission’s executive director for the fourth National Lottery licence competition, John Tanner, wrote in a blog: “The first thing to say is your average National Lottery player will not notice anything different on day one.
“If you go to buy a ticket for the Saturday draw, or have a go on a scratch card on February 1, you will still be able to, like you always have done.
“But over time, as Allwyn rolls out its plans for the National Lottery, you will see changes which we expect will lead to higher returns to good causes.”
Allwyn UK chairman Justin King said: “We are thrilled to become the new operator of The National Lottery. It is a privilege and a responsibility that we take incredibly seriously.
“Over the next 10 years, our commitment is to increase returns to National Lottery-funded projects and build a legacy of change for good.”
Gambling minister Stuart Andrew said: “People up and down the country have been playing the National Lottery for almost 30 years and it will continue to be one of the nation’s favourite pastimes.
“Allwyn’s new licence will see the National Lottery fund even more important initiatives through its commitment to raising millions more pounds for good causes.
“From mental health services and maintaining heritage and the arts, to supporting our Olympians and Paralympians, the National Lottery will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of millions.”
International operator Allwyn Entertainment, owned by Czech oil and gas tycoon Karel Komarek, was awarded the licence in 2022.
Later that year, the group acquired Camelot UK Lotteries for an undisclosed amount.
The Czech company, previously known as Sazka, also runs lotteries in Austria, Italy and Greece.
Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said: “This is a historic moment, the first time the National Lottery has changed operator and the commission is pleased to have reached this milestone.
“The fourth licence (to run the National Lottery) by design will mean more of every pound spent on the National Lottery will go to Good Causes whilst still making sure it is safe to play.
“The National Lottery celebrates its 30th birthday this year and in that time it’s made a huge impact on the UK.
“Everyone at the commission is committed to moving forwards with Allwyn and Government to make the fourth licence a big success for players and for the Good Causes that rely upon it up and down the country.”
Allwyn has admitted plans for new draw-based games have been delayed until 2025 after its handover was hampered by legal wrangling.
Allwyn’s recently-appointed UK boss, Andria Vidler, told the PA news agency that the group will not be able to make any of the bigger changes it had pledged to introduce until next year.