Gambling Commission Sued by Northern & Shell Over National Lottery License


The Gambling Commission is the target of a legal action brought by the British publishing powerhouse Northern & Shell, owned by the media billionaire Richard Desmond. The lawsuit is based on allegations of improper management during the National Lottery licensing competition, which occurred after the commission denied Northern & Shell’s attempt to acquire the UK Lottery.

At the Case Management Conference scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, at 10:30 AM, the New Lottery Company, a subsidiary of Northern & Shell, submitted their procurement litigation case to the Technology and Construction Court (TCC).

More on the Allegations

Previously run by Camelot Group from 1994 until 2022, the UK National Lottery license is at the center of the disputed selection procedure in this lawsuit. In February, the National Lottery was acquired by the Czech gaming corporation Allwyn, which had won the bid. Although they ultimately decided against it, Camelot did file a lawsuit challenging the Gambling Commission’s ruling.

Allwyn was granted the lucrative license to conduct the lottery by the Gambling Commission in March 2022. The sales of this lottery were anticipated to reach £100 billion. The decision was finalized six months later after a heated bidding battle between Camelot, the license holder since 1994, Allwyn, and media magnate Richard Desmond.

The ten-year agreement with the UK National Lottery is valued at billions in sales. All this, it seems, was way too much to overlook for Northen & Shell. When it comes to their most recent action, the company is attempting to recover £20 million in damages by leveraging EU legislation in part.

The Implications and Concerns

The potential expense of this legal fight for the Commission has raised fears that resources may be diverted from more important causes. However, it is likely the commission still has a few things that it may need to be on the lookout for.

Earlier this year, lawmakers pressed the gaming authority for guarantees about Allwyn, the newly appointed national lottery operator. The ownership structure, Allwyn’s commitments to safer gambling, and its charitable contributions have all drawn criticism. The Russian connections of Allwyn’s owner, the Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, have also come under scrutiny.

Consistent with Allwyn’s projections, the Gambling Commission claimed it had taken measures to verify that Allwyn was not receiving funding from any sanctioned companies. The commission also predicted a rise in charitable donations. To further reduce gambling-related damages, Allwyn must adhere to regulations that prescribe player protection techniques. But will that be enough?

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