UK: Camelot gets six month National Lottery extension

in Lottery

Camelot, the games business, is to get a six-month extension to run the National Lottery, as regulators press pause on an auction to run the competition next.

The decision to extend Camelot’s license by the Gambling Commission is likely to be formally announced in the coming weeks.

It is the latest stall in the competition to award the next license to run the lottery, and will likely sparked anger among Camelot’s rivals, who were already agitated by the watchdog announcing a two-month delay in the bidding process for the next National Lottery license in February.

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Czech firm Sazka, owned by energy billionaire Karel Komarek, are among those keen to take over the running of the competition.

Camelot has run the National Lottery since its creation in 1994.

Richard Desmond, the media mogul, has also expressed an interest.

It has been nearly a year since officials kicked off the hunt for the next operator, who will take over in 2023.

A Gambling Commission spokesman said: “The extended timetable is designed to enable potential applicants to make adequate preparations for a fair, open and robust competition.”

A spokesperson for Sazka said: “We continue to review the draft invitation to apply issued by the Gambling Commission to determine our response and are monitoring the situation closely.”