Camelot Group, the official operator of The National Lottery in the UK, decided not to appeal to the British High Court against conducting a judicial review into the Gambling Commission’s regulation of its rival Health Lottery, but urges political action instead.
According to British gambling news sources, Camelot Chief Executive Officer Dianne Thompson wrote earlier to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, informing him about the decision, “…in order to expedite urgent political action to safeguard The National Lottery and the good causes it supports.”
Although allegedly Camelot had clear grounds for an appeal, the group said it recognized that further legal action would “inevitably delay much-needed political action to close a loophole in the Gambling Act 2005”, apparently used by the Health Lottery to ensure its operation.
The letter emphasized that the Health Lottery’s mid-week draw planned for next month “only serves to underline the urgency with which the government needs to act” to guarantee “the intention and will of Parliament’ that there should be only one national lottery.”
Thompson commented: “As we have warned all along, time is of the essence. The longer the period of political inaction, the more incentive there is for other commercial operators to establish similar industrial-scale society lotteries that would effectively cannibalize The National Lottery’s sales and returns to good causes”.
Thompson demanded the British gambling laws should protect the UK National Lottery, saying: “Now there is no longer any legal impediment to political action, we are urging the government to take swift action to protect The National Lottery and the significant contribution it makes to society.”
Camelot Group commented: “The question whether multiple society lotteries should be permitted is a political question to be determined by the government or Parliament.”
The Gambling Commission described the Health Lottery in its evidence to the High Court as: “clearly designed to circumvent the proceeds limits”, comparing its functions to websites that provide internet betting in United Kingdom.
The Commission also described Health Lottery as “the gambling equivalent of a tax avoidance scheme that exploits loopholes in the legislation” and urged authorities to “decide whether to block the loophole or allow the limits to be breached and accept the possible damage to The National Lottery.”