UKGC launches fourth lottery licence competition

Simona Boshkova | Published 1 Sep 2020, 10:16 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is a regulatory body responsible for controlling gambling and conducting gambling law in the UK. In the past few months, the UKGC has been mentioned on different occasions, from starting new initiatives to suspending operating licences. Yesterday we reported that the regulator was criticised for their decision to cut jobs and lay staff off.

Just a couple of days ago, the UK Gambling Commission formally launched its competition to award the fourth National Lottery operating licence. The current, third licence, is due to expire in 2023, and the commission plans to announce its preferred applicant for the fourth licence in September 2021. According to the statement published on the UKGC’s website, the fourth licence will face some key changes.

A fixed, ten-year national licence

The National Lottery is one of the world’s largest and oldest lotteries that was launched in 1994. Since then, National Lottery players have collectively raised more than £41 billion for 565,000 good causes across the UK. As stated by the Commission, they used these funds for contributing to the arts, sports, heritage and communities. Launching its competition for the fourth licence, the UKGC underlined that they will evolve their approach to regulation to build on the National Lottery’s huge successes.

The fourth National Lottery licence will be for a fixed, 10-year period and the preferred applicant will be expected to maximise the opportunities for players and good causes to benefit from innovation and creativity while protecting the National Lottery’s unique status at the same time. The first formal stage of the competition started on August 28 and the applicants that will pass through this stage will receive the Invitation to Apply (ITA) together with supporting documentation for the application process in October.

Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive of the UKGC, described the National Lottery as a “national treasure”. He explained that the Lottery has a reputation for providing enjoyable games and player protection, along with a rich history of returns to good causes. For the fourth licence, the Commission is determined to protect and build on the reputation of the National Lottery. They want the next licensee to have greater autonomy to meet the needs of players in 2023 and beyond, while ensuring there is clear accountability for the performance of the National Lottery.

Key changes in the fourth National Lottery licence

As specified by the Commission, the fourth licence will face some changes. The key changes in the fourth licence include:

  • A fixed operating term of 10 years: As mentioned above, the fourth National Lottery licence will be for a fixed period of 10 years, allowing the licensee to have a clear period for investment planning;
  • A focus on performance: The fourth licence will provide greater flexibility and the licensee must provide greater transparency on how funds are returned to good causes whilst ensuring safe and fair play;
  • An incentive mechanism: This will ensure that the licensee’s delivery and incentives are closely aligned with the Lottery’s aim of creating returns to good causes;
  • Protecting the brand: The final key change of the fourth National Lottery requires the licensee to foster stronger relationships with the distributors of National Lottery funding to further improve the connection between the National Lottery brand, its players, and good causes