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Frequently asked questions and market briefing pack

Request date: 19 December 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 13 June 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/about-us/freedomofinformation/frequently-asked-questions-and-market-briefing-pack

Request

You have extended your deadline to 5 January 2024 for the below requested documents:

1) the Co-operation Agreement, the Invitation to Apply (ITA) and related documents, as issued in October 2020' 2) the Application Agreement; and 3) the Engagement Agreement.

You have asked the below requests to be narrowed down: 4) the discussion document prepared by Rothschild & Co that was shared with registered interested parties in September 2019; 5) the full Frequently Asked Clarifications log, covering the period 13 January 2020 to the first submission date in 2021; and 6) any reports, memos, assessments and/or opinions that informed the Gambling Commission's view on the Samara oil terminal and Gazprom joint-venture and its decision that they had no relevance.

Points 4) and 5) are requests for single, clearly identifiable documents. As such, there can be no further narrowing-down of the request and neither should the cost of retrieving them be too costly. Please could you confirm that you will provide a response on these specific documents?

On point 6), please process the request as follows: –the assessment and/or opinion – "independently verified by legal professionals", as Andrew Rhodes wrote in his 13 November 2023 letter to Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the culture select committee – that no sanctioned entities were involved with Allwyn.

Response

Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

In your email received on 19 December 2023 you clarified your request as follows:

4) the discussion document prepared by Rothschild & Co that was shared with registered interested parties in September 2019;

Please find information attached.

5) the full Frequently Asked Clarifications log, covering the period 13 January 2020 to the first submission date in 2021;

Please find attached our Consolidated Response to Clarification Questions, this contains the clarification questions known as “Frequently Asked Clarifications”.

6) the assessment and/or opinion – "independently verified by legal professionals", as Andrew Rhodes wrote in his 13 November 2023 letter to Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the culture select committee – that no sanctioned entities were involved with Allwyn.

I can confirm that information falling within scope of this part of your request is held by the Commission.

However, due to the sensitive nature of this information we are of the view that the information is exempt from disclosure pursuant to Section 42 FOIA (Legal Professional Privilege).

Legal Professional Privilege – Section 42

Section 42 provides an exemption under the FOIA for Legal Professional Privilege (LPP). Information in respect of which there is a claim to legal professional privilege is exempt information. LPP protects the confidentiality of free and frank communications between a legal advisor and a client. In this case our view is that the requested information is subject to LPP because:

Public interest test

The factors the Commission has considered when applying the public interest test have been detailed below and our view is that the public interest lies in favour of applying the exemption.

In favour of disclosure

The Commission is a public body which is required to regulate the National Lottery in the public interest. There is therefore public interest in members of the public having confidence that the Commission is being open and honest with the information it holds so that it can be held to account.

There is public interest in knowing what information the Commission had before it when determining that Allwyn (as the preferred candidate to run the Fourth National Lottery Licence) was not involved with any sanctioned entities.

In favour of maintaining the exemption

There is a strong public interest in Allwyn being able to have access to full and frank legal advice without concerns that this advice will be disclosed.

Disclosure may hinder the candid nature of communications in the future which could be damaging to future decision making which is not in the public interest.

It is important that those who provide information to the Commission on a confidential basis can trust that the Commission will maintain confidentiality.

Disclosure may have a negative impact upon the frankness of legal advice provided and may also impact upon the extent that legal advice is sought by applicants and/or the extent to which it will be disclosed to the Commission. This would also not be in the public interest.

Weighing the balance

The Commission recognises that there is a public interest in disclosure of information relating to the 4th National Lottery, however, there is a greater argument in favour of safeguarding the communications between clients and their legal advisors to ensure (i) access to full and frank legal advice, and (ii) full and frank disclosure of information between applicants and the Commission. On balance, we consider that the public interest is better served by withholding this information ensuring that the provision of legal advice is safeguarded.

Review of the decision

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email.

Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission.

The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Information Management Team
Gambling Commission
Victoria Square House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B2 4BP

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