The tendering process for the Fourth UK National Lottery license has yet to begin and that has upset potential bidders who have criticised the process stating that is unfairly benefited Camelot – the company which currently runs the National Lottery in the UK.
The process was expected by most to begin in March but statements made by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have now put the likely starting date to sometime in the first half of 2020.
Neither the UKGC nor the DCMS have openly discussed any delays in the bidding process but there appears to be a slight readjustment in the scheduling. A UKGC spokesperson dismissed the concerns raised by the unnamed bidders.
The gambling watchdog reiterated their commitment to a fair and competitive bidding process, but failed to provide any specifics. This lack of commitment hasn’t gone down well with potential bidders who have thrown shade at the gambling watchdog.
Delays Draining Bidders’ Resources
According to sources within the bidders’ camps, the ongoing delay is a serious drain on their financial resources. Because bidding on the license involves a substantial amount of resources, the delay will likely dissuade many potential bidders from continuing, especially without a definite idea on when the bidding will begin.
These unnamed sources warned that many strong bidders will lose interest if no clear timeline is prepared, leaving the incumbent Camelot to continue with its reign over the National Lottery. To ensure a vigorous tendering process, bidders say that the process be transparent to all involved.
Camelot Expected to Have Many Challengers
Camelot has been operating the National Lottery since it began in 1994. The company has received two new contracts in the succeeding years of 2001 and 2007. The incumbent Camelot is expected to have a number of competitors in the tender process.
Potential bidders include Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the gaming firm Sazka Group from Czechoslovakia, and the Health Lottery operator Northern & Shell. Other prominent firms may also throw their hat into the fray as industry rumors have linked companies like Tabcorp, Novomedia, and Française des Jeux to the tendering process.
All the operators are keeping silent about their plans for now, refusing to confirm or deny the rumours. However, Dutch company Novomedia has released a statement denying that they have plans to obtain a license to operate the UK national lottery.