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How we regulate the National Lottery

We are responsible for regulating the National Lottery, including the company which runs the National Lottery.

Our legal responsibilities are:

  • ensuring the Lottery is run with due propriety
  • ensuring that the interests of all players are protected
  • that returns to Good Causes are maximised.

How the lottery is regulated is set out in legislation, which you can find in our statutory framework. Under Section 11 of the National Lottery Act etc. 1993 the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport issues Directions to us in relation to the exercise of our licensing functions, which we must comply with. You can view the latest National Lottery DCMS Directions on our website.

We award the licence to run the National Lottery

The current UK National Lottery licence is due to expire in 2034.

We also grant licences for each game, or class of games, promoted as part of the National Lottery.

We adopt an outcome focused regulatory approach

The Commission’s approach to National Lottery regulation is outcome focused under the Fourth licence, giving the Licensee greater responsibility to fulfil its obligations, whilst retaining the ability to intervene if they do not.

A new incentive mechanism ensures that the Licensee’s incentives and delivery are better aligned with contributions to Good Causes. The mechanism is structured to align the interest of Good Causes and the Licensee by ensuring that any profits made in the operation of the National Lottery are shared between the Licensee and Good Causes. In addition, the Licensee must pay a ‘fixed contribution’ per Licence year to Good Causes.

This approach enables greater flexibility for the Licensee to adapt and innovate, so long as they meet the licence obligations. A Regulatory Handbook provides guidance to the Licensee on how the Commission will approach regulating the National Lottery. This sets out the regulatory approach; how performance of the Licensee is monitored; the reporting and assurance requirements of the licence; and the Commission’s enforcement policy.

Fourth National Lottery Regulatory Handbook - February 2024.

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Who runs the National Lottery
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