The legal battle for control of the UK National Lottery has been revived by Camelot’s technology partner, International Game Technology (IGT), as the company is now suing the Gambling Commission under European human rights laws.
The business argues the regulator’s decision to award the fourth lottery license to the Czech-owned Allwyn gaming group has cost its “marketable goodwill,” reports The Times. The new license is due to start in February 2024.
Camelot and IGT tried to stop the gaming regulator from moving forward with the transition immediately after the regulator chose Allwyn as its preferred applicant to take over the lottery last year. The move gave the company, a subsidiary of Czech-based gaming giant Sazka, a 10-year contract worth $80 million.
In April last year, Camelot sued the UKGC, which automatically suspended the transfer of the license. But in June, a judge found no reason to prevent the transfer, leading Camelot to drop its lawsuit. However, IGT is now reviving the battle through new legal action.
The Italian-based company asserts in its new legal challenge not that the license move would impact it financially, but that it puts in jeopardy its “marketable goodwill,” losing its ability to provide community support.
The challenge also follows Allwyn’s announcement that it is purchasing Camelot’s assets, which was made back in November. In this new scenario, IGT may stand to lose market share as a result of the transfer of power.
Allwyn's Karel Komarek.
IGT argues that the UKGC is violating Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as the European Union’s Human Rights Act. Article 1 refers to EU members being required to enforce the “rights and freedoms defined in Section 1” of the ECHR.
Section 1 discusses the rights of individuals and not companies. The move hints that IGT is arguing that the UKGC is violating the rights of individuals by denying the company the ability to serve in a charitable capacity.
A legal victory for the Italian-owned IGT, which runs the lottery ticket machines at newsagents, supermarkets and garages, could lead to a damages award estimated at up to £600 million ($714.2 million), payable from the National Lottery’s good causes fund, according to The Times.