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Neil McArthur talks about the next competition to run the National Lottery

Today the Gambling Commission has begun its initial global market engagement to hear from businesses and investors interested in the UK National Lottery and the way it will operate in the future.

Posted 16 November 2018 by Neil McArthur

Nearly 25 years ago lottery fever swept the nation and more than 20 million of us tuned in to watch the first televised UK National Lottery draw in November 1994.

Since then the National Lottery has become part of the fabric of British society. It has awarded £67 billion in prizes, created more than 5,000 millionaires and raised over £38 billion to support good causes with more than 535,000 individual grants made across the UK.

As the current licence to run the National Lottery expires in 2023, the Gambling Commission has started preparations for the next licence competition to find an operator that will sustain and build on its current achievements.

The world has changed since the UK National Lottery launched in 1994, when there were only four TV channels in the UK, no smartphones and social media was in its infancy. The Commission will be looking for and exploring the best ideas, innovations and experiences to create a National Lottery that is fit for the future.

We know how important the National Lottery is to the UK, and this competition is the Commission’s number one priority. One of the reasons for this is that the British people care about their lottery. Whether the millions who play National Lottery games or those who benefit from projects funded by the proceeds, including many of our medal-winning elite athletes, the country relies on a National Lottery that must be enjoyable, safe and above all deliver the maximum amount to good causes.

This is why we need to see a fourth licence competition that is robust, fair and ultimately that ensures we continue to have a world class lottery that the nation can be proud of. Although the formal bidding process won’t start for some time, it is essential for us to start talking to businesses and investors, including technology and financial firms, from across the globe about their ideas, possible innovations and experience.

Many businesses may not have thought about running a lottery before but in a world where communications are 24-hour and technology continues to change at an increasingly fast pace, we want to put the opportunity in front of all businesses and see what ideas, experiences and innovation come forward.

The UK’s National Lottery is played by millions and the benefits are enjoyed by millions more. So with such a great opportunity on offer we want to attract the best talent. We need to see innovation and creativity to take the Lottery into a new era, and ensure it remains one of the biggest and best lotteries in the world.

To find out more about the fourth National Lottery licence competition, please go to our website or email the dedicated team at

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