Court of Appeal to reassess whether UKGC can formally award 4th National Lottery licence to Allwyn
On 30 June 2022, we reported on the High Court judgment that lifted suspension of the Gambling Commission’s ability to formally award the 4th National Lottery licence to Allwyn Entertainment Limited (‘Allwyn’).
Yesterday (14 July 2022), the Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal that judgment, as a result of which the automatic suspension remains in place pending the outcome of that appeal.
Commenting on this further development, the Gambling Commission has published the following ‘legal update’:
Legal update on right to appeal on the fourth National Lottery licence
On 29 June, the High Court lifted an automatic suspension that prevented the Gambling Commission from formally awarding the fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn Entertainment UK (Allwyn).
Two parties – Camelot and IGT – subsequently asked the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal this decision.
Today – 14 July – the Court granted permission to appeal. This means the automatic suspension remains in place, pending the outcome of appeal proceedings. The appeal hearing is likely to take place in the week of 12 September.
Throughout the litigation process, we have been clear that disrupting the implementation of Allwyn’s plans would present potentially severe consequences for the National Lottery and good causes. It also risks the National Lottery not operating to its full potential at the start of the fourth licence.
We are, obviously, disappointed with this outcome, but respect the court’s decision. The appeal process will generate challenges for the transition to the fourth licence and further delay to the award of the licence to Allwyn. We regret the decision by third parties to bring legal proceedings following the outcome of a highly successful competition for the fourth National Lottery licence, actions which could impact transition to the Fourth Licence and, ultimately, funding for good causes.
Nevertheless, it remains our priority to ensure a seamless transition between the third and fourth National Lottery licences, so that players can continue to enjoy playing the National Lottery fairly, safely and claim their prizes, and so that the National Lottery continues to deliver for good causes in every corner of the UK.
In order to protect the integrity of the process, we will not be able to discuss the specifics until litigation has concluded.
As reported by SBC News, Allwyn has issued the following statement by its Chairman Justin King:
We are obviously disappointed by today’s decision. It creates the likelihood of further delay as the appeal will not be held until September. It is common ground that this delay will damage the introduction of the benefits the Fourth Licence brings for Good Causes. As the Court ruled, Camelot and IGT must now provide an undertaking for damages by 4 pm Friday. We call on them to either ensure that undertaking includes Good Causes, or instead in the interests of the Good Causes and the National Lottery, to gracefully accept the ruling of Mrs Justice O’Farrell. This would allow the suspension to be lifted and the Gambling Commission to move forward with Awarding the Fourth Licence to Allwyn.
- On 5 September 2022, the Gambling Commission announced that Camelot intends to withdraw its appeal and pursue its claim in damages alone. As reported by us here, it remains to be seen whether IGT will do likewise, meaning that the above-mentioned suspension remains in place until that is resolved.
- On 20 September 2022, following withdrawal by both Camelot and IGT of their respective appeals, the Gambling Commission formally awarded the fourth National Lottery licence to Allwyn (as subsequently reported by us here).