Following the decision of the Gambling Commission (GC) to award its fourth lottery license to Allwyn; Camelot instituted a legal action against the GC, in a bid to stop them from issuing the fourth lottery license to the preferred bidder; Allwyn Entertainment, which is owned by the billionaire Karel Komarek.
This legal move by Camelot, necessitated a suspension to be imposed on the issuance of the national license to Allwyn, pending determination by the court.
The High Court ruled on Wednesday that the suspension put in place in April should be lifted, meaning the Gambling Commission can go ahead and sign an enabling agreement with Allwyn, ahead of the scheduled beginning of its licence period in February 2024.
However, while the court has lifted the suspension placed on the issuance of the license, the High Court has yet to rule on Camelot’s legal challenge and a claim of £500m in damages, over the Gambling Commission’s selection process and preferred applicant decision, as it argued that the regulator made a mistake in its decision to award the contract to Allwyn. This is being dealt with separately by the court.
Camelot’s spokesperson said that they were disappointed with the judgment, but is looking forward to the determination of their claim, on whether the Gambling Commission correctly and lawfully awarded the license to the preferred applicant, Allwyn.
Camelot’s contention, was that they had initially received the highest score in a system, where all bids were assessed with scorecards, under the planned scoring system. This system included a ‘risk discount’ that was applied to scores, in order to take into account the possibility that an operator falls short of its projected target, for good causes. However, the impact of the ‘risk discount’ was then reduced by GC and bids were rescored, which then pushed Allwyn into first place, ahead of Camelot.
The Gambling Commission’s spokesperson also said that the GC will be preparing for the trial, of the various claims brought against them by Camelot, as they believe that they ran a fair and robust competition, and that their evaluation of all the bids, was carried out fairly and lawfully, in accordance with their statutory duties.
Allwyn UK through their spokesperson, expressed their satisfaction with the ruling that will allow GC to issue them with a license, as it will allow them and GC, to move forward.
The presiding Judge; Mrs. Justice O’Farrell made it clear that the public interest, and in particular the impact on good causes, was a strong factor in her decision to lift the suspension.