Camelot bought by lottery successor Allwyn for £100m in a move expected to bring a bitter legal wrangle to a close
Winner: Tycoon Karel Komarek and wife Stepanka
The next National Lottery operator has snapped up rival Camelot UK – in a move expected to bring a bitter legal wrangle to a close.
Allwyn Entertainment has bought the group from its owner, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, in a deal thought to be worth £100million.
It ends months of dispute over the Gambling Commission’s decision in March to hand the National Lottery licence – held by Camelot since the draw began in 1994 – to Czech-based Allwyn from February 2024.
Camelot UK launched an appeal in April, but dropped the challenge in September after the Gambling Commission warned the action may delay the handover and could have ‘severe consequences for the National Lottery and good causes’.
Camelot UK planned to sue regulators for hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation – though this move is now expected to be dropped. The deal still needs to be cleared by the Gambling Commission but is expected to be finalised early next year.
Camelot UK will continue to be run separately. But most of its 900 staff were already due to transfer to Allwyn when the licence changes in 2024.
Allwyn’s successful bid included plans to halve the price of tickets from £2 to the original £1 fee.
The company is owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komarek, 53.
Its 10-year UK licence is forecast to generate up to £100billion in sales for Allwyn, which also runs lotteries in other European nations.
Watford-based Camelot UK said sales surpassed £8billion in the year to March. It also owns lottery activities in the US and Ireland.
Allwyn said the takeover would help smooth the transition. Chief executive Robert Chvatal said Allwyn and Camelot share a common goal to ‘improve the UK National Lottery and the good causes it celebrates.’
He said Allwyn is committed to making the UK Lottery better and ‘raising more for good causes’.
Since the UK Lottery began in 1994, £46billion has gone to 670,000 good causes.