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What’s on the cards for the UK National Lottery?

  • by Stelly in Industry
  • September 20, 2020

The race to be the new owner of the UK National Lottery is on, as the Camelot Group's license is set to expire in 2023.

While we may still be a few years away from the license coming to an end, the process around applying, choosing, and taking over as the new owner of the National Lottery is a huge task.

What's being referred to as "the cage match to determine who gets to run the National Lottery", the move to find a new owner is no small feat. Not only must the UK Gambling Commission consider the many possible options but there's also the chance that this shift will lead to new laws being put in place.

Is the National Lottery still necessary?

As it currently stands, the UK National Lottery offers Lotto, EuroMillions, Thunderball, LottoHotPicks, EuromillionsHotPicks, Set For Life, Scratchcards and Interactive Instant Win Games - each with their own license provided by the UKGC.

During the Covid-19 lockdown that took hold of the world earlier in 2020, many industries struggled to find their feet. 

The UK National Lottery, however, continued as normal. Tickets have been available for purchase at stores and online. Draw schedules have also continued as normal with winners claiming their prizes every week.

The only real change has been how lucky players have had to celebrate. A quiet night home after a big win isn't quite the same as buying a round at the pub but it will have to do during these unprecedented times.

So it seems that the lottery still has its place in today's society. But where does it plan to go from here?

Possible changes on the cards

As with any change of ownership, there is the possibility that changes may be coming to how the National Lottery functions. Recently, in Bulgaria, the government pushed to ban private lottery companies entirely.

While this doesn't seem to be the case in the UK, other changes are possible including the possible raising of the age limit of those who can buy lottery tickets to 18 years, instead of the current 16 years. Small changes such as these can affect how the lottery runs and of course, the revenue it brings in.

The Gambling Commission is the main drive behind many possible changes now and in the future. While Camelot currently runs the National Lottery, it still falls on the UKGC to approve and verify any major decisions that are made.

Camelot's last hoorah?

In what could be seen as Camelot's last attempt to boost their revenue before handing over the lottery to a new owner, there have been new draws and promotions created recently.

Promotions such as the £20 million 'Must be Won' draws are set to bring in huge numbers with a jackpot that can be boosted to well over £100 million in prizes.

Camelot’s Commercial Director, Neil Brocklehurst, shared how these draws have become a success.

“In terms of Lotto, the changes we made a couple of years ago are continuing to prove really popular – particularly the ‘Must Be Won’ draws where, when the jackpot isn’t won outright, it rolls down to all of the other cash prize winners. But we’re always looking at ways to make our games even better, and one thing that Match 2 winners were regularly telling us was that they wanted a share of the jackpot too," said Brocklehurst.

“We know an unexpected extra fiver – which could be spent on a box of chocolates, a book or magazine, or to treat a friend to a coffee – can really put a smile on someone’s face. For our retail partners, on top of the usual commission they make on the free Lucky Dip and paying out some of the other boosted prizes, this will mean a significant number of players reinvesting their £5 win back in store”.

Wherever this eventual rat race will end is anyone's guess. There's no doubt that any changes that are made will be for the best of the UK public which is always a comforting notion when playing for real cash.

Considering that an impressive sum of what the Lottery makes is poured back into good causes, it seems there will always be a place for a quick scratchcard or two in the lives of UK players.

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