Trussed Like A Turkey, Allwyn Is All Set To Consume Camelot For Christmas
The UK National Lottery may have raised almost £423 million (US$473.25m/€484.78m) for good causes in the first quarter of its penultimate financial year but now operator Camelot, all trussed up and nowhere to go, looks set to be a tasty Christmas feast for surprise jackpot winner Allwyn.
Continental lottery operator Allwyn, formerly the Sazka Group, owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komárek, won the new (fourth) licence to run the UK lottery in March this year.
It ended a hard-fought four-way campaign between Camelot, Sazka, Sisal and the New Lottery Company, with Camelot—like ex-US President Donald Trump—refusing to accept the result.
Owned, some would say somewhat incongruously, by the Ottawa Teachers’ Pension Fund in Canada, Camelot tried to overturn the decision by launching legal action. But the operator was slapped down in a High Court Ruling in September.
Now, accordingly to highly-placed and normally-accurate media accounts, Allwyn is in “advanced” talks to buy Camelot’s UK, Irish and US Illinois state operations for an offer believed to be in the region of £120 million (US$134.25m/€137.52m).
Allwyn would also take on Camelot’s 1,000-plus staff to ensure a smooth transition.
If the deal were sealed it would put an end to any current, or impending, legal action against Allwyn by Camelot, who have run the UK lottery since its inception in November, 1994.
According to latest stats, Camelot contributed £422.9 million to good causes during the first quarter of its 2022/23 financial year.
The amount—raised by sales in the three months, ending this June–was half a percent point more than the corresponding quarter the previous financial year – but significantly lower than Q3 and Q4 of 2021/22, by some 17 and 14 per cent, respectively.
According to the UK’s regulatory Gambling Commission, the quarterly drops were in line with an overall decline in lottery ticket sales, which fell by 8.7 per cent, for example, in Camelot’s last Q4.
Overall, the Camelot-run UK National Lottery has raised more than £46 billion for some 670,000 charitable causes (US$51.46bn/€52.71bn).
But Camelot’s lustre–reflected in its loss of licence to outsider Allwyn–has dimmed. And most gaming industry watchers concur that a change was sorely needed.
Allwyn, it is reported, plan to halve the cost of main lotto tickets back to their original £1 price, to boost the draw’s flagging fortunes.
“Under [our] stewardship, sales growth is expected to result in the money allocated to UK good causes more than doubling,” predicted Allwyn Chair Justin King, the former CEO of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s.
“The National Lottery of the future will build on a cutting-edge technology platform that will improve player protection over the next 10-years and beyond,” he added.
Meantime, there’s that Christmas turkey to tuck into. Please pass the gravy.