Contestants line up for lottery licence

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The battle to win the licence to operate the UK’s National Lottery is hotting up as the decision date looms.

Currently the lottery is operated by Camelot and it is working to try to keep the right to run the biggest gambling sector in the UK, the proceeds from which – 40 per cent – go to community projects and 20 per cent to heritage projects, plus 20 per cent to sport.

Camelot has operated the lottery since it was started in 1994 and in that time it has created 6,000 millionaires. Now the company, owned by a Canadian teachers’ pension fund, wants to hang on to the one per cent of the lottery proceeds that it keeps.

It had sales of £8.4bn in the year to March 2021, from which it had a pre-tax profit of £94.2m, but now faces a strong challenge as the renewal of the 10-year licence is due to be decided by the Gambling Commission early in the new year.

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Allwyn is a UK subsidiary launched by Sazka, the Czech-based lottery specialist, and it has applied for the licence. It is joined by Sisal, the Italian lottery operator, and the operator of the popular Health Lottery in the UK, Northern and Shell, has thrown its hat into the ring.

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