The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee launches inquiry into the National Lottery

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This autumn marks 25 years since the National Lottery was launched. In that time, it has raised more than £40 billion for good causes, including contributions to the arts, sports, heritage and communities. The current operator, Camelot, has run the National Lottery since its launch in 1994. The Public Accounts Committee published a report in April last year that concluded that the current terms of the licence were too generous to Camelot, given that Camelot’s profits rose by 122% between 2009 and 2018, whereas the returns to good causes only increased by 2%.

Camelot's licence to operate the National Lottery is due to expire in 2023. In light of the above, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (“DCMS Committee”) has launched an inquiry to determine whether changes are needed to the operation of the National Lottery ahead of the upcoming competition to award the next licence. The competition is expected to be launched in 2020.

The inquiry will assess several factors in the operation and management of the National Lottery moving forward. In particular, it will consider the sustainability of the National Lottery in light of the fact that National Lottery receipts have been declining and whether there is a need for greater flexibility in how money is raised for good causes through the Lottery.

The DCMS Committee is asking the public to submit evidence about their experiences with National Lottery funds and to suggest ideas about how to raise money for good causes. Specifically, the DCMS Committee is seeking written evidence that addresses the following questions:

  • What lessons should be learnt from the previous licence periods in designing, awarding and managing the fourth National Lottery licence?
  • Is there need for greater flexibility to enable the licence to respond to changing consumer habits?
  • How should the next licence be structured to maximise returns for good causes?
  • What challenges will the next operator of the National Lottery face, and what can Government and the Gambling Commission do to mitigate against them?
  • What has been the impact of society lotteries, or other changes to the lottery market, on the main National Lottery draw?
  • How can lottery funding distributors be better supported to manage changing trends in receipts for good causes?

The DCMS Committee invites evidence from the public, organisations and others with relevant expertise. The deadline for submitting evidence is 5pm on Friday 30 August. Written evidence to the inquiry can be submitted via the evidence portal here.

Article co-authored by Trainee Solicitor Emelia Hunt.