Published: October 17, 2021

UK National Lottery bidders head for the final draw

Sir Hugh Robertson and Sir Keith Mills used to be close colleagues.

They braved the media frenzy of the London Olympics together as sports minister and deputy head of the games organising committee, delivering a success in the face of high pressure and international scepticism but the camaraderie of the 2012 campaign is now ancient history.

Today, the former allies are pitted against each other in one of the most intense and drawn out bidding battles in the City for years – the race to run the National Lottery. Mills has thrown his lot in with Czech oligarch Karel Komarek, whose sprawling pan-European gambling business, Sazka, wants to seize control of Britain's most lucrative single public sector contract

It is a decision that puts the 71-year-old at odds with his old pal Robertson, 12 years his junior and the chairman of Camelot, which has run the National Lottery for more than a quarter of a century.

Bids for the Fourth National Lottery licence, which runs for up to 10 years from 2024, were submitted late on Friday evening.

Rothschild, the investment bank advising the regulator the Gambling Commission, will host bidders' final presentations.


UKGC Extends National Lottery Licence Competition Timeline




The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has extended the timeline for Phase Two of the Fourth National Lottery licence competition, following representations from applicants and experience from Phase One.

The amended timeline will see four weeks added to the Phase Two application stage and a further six weeks for evaluation. These changes will provide the opportunity for applicants to further refine their proposals and for the Commission to evaluate.

“To facilitate these changes, and ensure a smooth transition, we will extend the third National Lottery licence by six months. The Fourth National Lottery licence will begin in February 2024,” UKGC confirmed in a statement.

“We now intend to announce the preferred applicant in February 2022. All dates are indicative and may evolve in line with market feedback and the continued national, and international, impact of COVID-19, all of which we are keeping under constant review.

“Our job is to run the best competition we possibly can – one that is open and fair and results in the best outcome for players and good causes. We want to appoint a licensee that can build on the National Lottery’s legacy and find new opportunities for a sustainable and successful future.

“We remain encouraged by the number of applications received and we look forward to evaluating Phase Two proposals as part of a robust process.”

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