Camelot has applied for a judicial review of the Gambling Commission’s decision to allow the Health Lottery to operate.
The National Lottery operator believes the Gambling Commission should not have granted licences to the 51 society lotteries that operate under the Health Lottery, which it says is, in effect, a national lottery.
Camelot Group chief executive officer, Dianne Thompson said the Commission was flawed in its decision to not take “appropriate regulatory action” against the Health Lottery, following correspondence from Camelot.
“We believe that the Gambling Commission has made a fundamental error in allowing the Health Lottery to operate in its current form,” she said.
Thompson insisted that Camelot’s issue wasn’t with the Health Lottery, rather the precedent it sets.
“By licensing the Health Lottery, the Gambling Commission is in real danger of setting a perilous precedent that will allow other commercial operators to establish what would effectively be further rivals to the National Lottery,” she said. “This would have a potentially devastating effect on returns to National Lottery Good Causes and Lottery Duty to the Exchequer.”
In its remit as National Lottery operator, Camelot distributes 28p for every £1 received in sales to good causes plus 12p towards lottery duty. The Health Lottery gives 20p for every pound to health-related charities but as it is operating as a society lottery, it is not subject to duty.
Thompson added that despite the Health Lottery’s claims that it is a society lottery, “it is advertised nationally, it is branded nationally, tickets are sold nationally, and the draw is televised nationally.
“The idea that each of the 51 societies that are said to make up the Health Lottery is a separate and distinct small-scale entity, each in full charge of its own destiny, is absurd,” said Thompson. “The Health Lottery was not created for the benefit of the 51 societies – precisely the opposite is the case: these societies were created to benefit the Health Lottery.”
Formal papers will be lodged by Camelot in the High Court next week.
In response to the announcement Health Lottery chief executive Martin Hall said: “The Gambling Commission has given a very robust response to Camelot’s arguments. We agree with the Gambling Commission that they are devoid of merit.”