The National Lottery in the UK is due to have a new operator or continue with its current operational company after the fourth National Lottery Contest decides on the next licence holder. While the contest was announced in August 2020, the final stage of the licence application was announced last week, with the final four candidates submitting their applications.
Other news from the UK gambling industry includes an update from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on a project that strives to improve gambling participation and prevalence statistics. The project was launched earlier this year and is supposed to improve the process of collecting data that is used for statistics showing how gambling participation and prevalence are changing in the UK’s society.
Final Four Contestants for the National Lottery Licence are Confirmed
Last week, the UKGC received the final four applications for the Fourth National Lottery licence holder. The National Lottery was first launched in 1994 and since then, it has raised over £43 billion which were used for funding different charities or support sports, arts, heritage, or community programmes.
The final stage of the competition that was launched last August was announced with the final four candidates submitting their applications last week. Even since the National Lottery was launched, this is the first time that there are that many applicants for the operating licence.
Since the final four candidates have applied for the licence, the evaluation process can begin. Each of the applicants will go through a presentation process which will be hosted by the Gambling Commission’s main adviser Rothschild & Co. The regulator is hoping to be able to announce the new licence holder at the beginning of 2022, with the licence coming into full effect in early 2024.
John Tanner, executive director of the Fourth National Lottery Contest, announced that the Commission is very pleased to receive that high number of candidates for the first time since the National Lottery was launched. The regulatory body is planning to launch an evaluation process that will be fair to all applicants and will ensure to choose the best candidate for the future of both players and charity causes.
While Camelot Group has been the lottery operator for three consecutive times, the precedent high number of applicants this year may mean that the Fourth National Lottery licence holder may be a different company.
UKGC Updates Its Gambling Participation and Prevalence Statistics Project
Earlier in 2021, the UKGC was considering several proposals for introducing changes into the way gambling participation and prevalence data is collected. This type of information is gathered to help the regulator determine the gambling activity among UK residents as well as to establish the problem gambling rates and the way they change.
The consultation received responses from a large number of stakeholders, prompting an auction process to choose a research partner to be in charge of the first phase of the new project. After the competitive tender was over, NatCen Social Research and the University of Glasgow were appointed to oversee the project.
The new method of collecting gambling participation and prevalence data will be tested by the two newly appointed research partners and Bryson Purdon Social Research. The new way of gathering such information will also focus on exploring additional areas of gambling harms.
The first phase of the new project will launch in October 2021 and will run until March 2022. Stakeholders will also participate in the collecting of data process, which will also include cognitive testing. The new elements of the research include further implementation of web methodology, with participants being able to answer questions of the survey online. Once the first stage of the survey is complete, all of the data will be collected and evaluated, allowing recommendations for the following stages of the project.
According to the UKGC, if the pilot stage of this new project is successful, the regulator will continue to use the new set of data collection tools to conduct its future surveys. This would mean that the regulatory body may be able to introduce a collective population survey that will include the whole country. If the new way of collecting such data is applied continuously, the UKGC will have a better grasp of emerging trends and will be able to act on time.