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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.

Published: 1 January 2021

Last updated: 13 January 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 7 December 2023

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-and-players/guide/how-we-regulate-the-national-lottery

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

Our legal responsibilities are:

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 2024. The Gambling Commission is running the competition to award the next licence (opens in new tab)

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

Who runs the National Lottery?

The National Lottery is run by a commercial company, Camelot (opens in new tab)

The legal entity of the company is Camelot UK Lotteries Limited.

Camelot hold the UK National Lottery licence

Camelot's current licence runs until 2024.

During this time it:

How we regulate Camelot

We run checks on people who could affect how the National Lottery is run, or damage its reputation. We also carry out checks on companies if their conduct could affect the National Lottery.

Security vetting

If we find that someone does not meet the necessary standards, they may not be employed in a vetted role.

We vet:

People or companies being vetted need to complete an individual or corporate declaration. They must also complete a disclosure application form (Disclosure Scotland).

We speak with relevant agencies in the UK and overseas to verify the information given.

Camelot computer systems

We check the the National Lottery’s central computer systems are reliable and secure. This includes its network of terminals.

We also have an independent verification system which processes and reports National Lottery financial data for player transactions. The system allows us to agree daily sales figures and prize payouts.

This means we can make sure the number of winners and prize amounts are correct after each draw. It also helps us confirm money for good causes is correctly calculated.

We investigate any discrepancies between Camelot's system and our own.

Protecting National Lottery players

Protecting players is an important part of our responsibility to ensure that the interests of all players are protected.

To protect National Lottery players we:

Protecting winners

To protect National Lottery winners we:

Making sure National Lottery draws are fair

There are strict procedures to make sure all draws are fair, random and honest. Members of our compliance team attend many draws throughout the year.

National Lottery draw machines

Every draw is random and each ball has the same chance of being picked. Camelot must carry out tests of draw machines and ball sets to check for non-randomness.

The University of Hertfordshire also does independent testing on the randomness of balls drawn. The machine and ball set used in each draw are scheduled on an equal rotation basis.

Between draws, draw machines and ball sets are sealed and kept in secure storage. Access to these secure areas is strictly limited. The seals are checked before a set of balls is used.

Each set of balls is tested by the National Measurement Office and Camelot at regular intervals.

People involved in lottery draws

Camelot appoints a ‘draw manager’ who is responsible for making sure the draw runs properly.

Every draw is also overseen by an independent adjudicator. They are responsible for making sure draws are carried out in line with all procedures.

Regulating money used for National Lottery prizes

On average around half of the money from National Lottery sales is given as prizes.

The company which runs the National Lottery (currently Camelot) must transfer prize money into the Players' Trust. This is to keep the money secure and separate from other funds.

Once in the trust, the money under the control of an independent trustee. We review all payments that Camelot makes to the trust.

Money for good causes

Money for good causes is transferred from Camelot to either:

We make sure Camelot’s payments are accurate and on time. We also oversee the transfer of funds to good causes and prize winners.

Unclaimed prizes

A prize is unclaimed if it has not been claimed within 180 days (about six months).

We check unclaimed prize money goes to the National Lottery Distribution Fund or the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund. It will go on to benefit National Lottery Projects across the UK.

Statement of assurance

We produce an annual statement of assurance for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This confirms all National Lottery Distribution Fund and Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund payments are accurate.

Regulating National Lottery games

We oversee Camelot's procedures for National Lottery games.

We also carry out independent research to make sure there is no evidence of non-randomness in National Lottery game results.

We grant licences for each game, or class of games, promoted as part of the National Lottery. Lotto, Thunderball, scratchcards and interactive instant win games all have their own licences.

Before we will approve any changes (allowing amendments to the game licence or to licence new games), we look at issues like:

We also check that Camelot complies with the terms of those licences.

Regulating National Lottery scratchcards

We make sure Camelot has strict security arrangements to:

We also check Camelot makes sure their scratchcard suppliers have appropriate security arrangements.

An independent auditor carries out an audit for every scratchcard game.

Tampering and fraud

An independent laboratory tests scratchcards to make sure nobody can tamper with them.

Camelot must have information security policies to stop any fake attempts to win prizes.

Protecting the National Lottery brand

The National Lottery brand is one of the most recognised brands in the UK.

The National Lottery logo

The National Lottery brand includes:

We own the trademarks in the logos and license them to the company that runs the National Lottery, Camelot UK Lotteries Limited.

To be able to use the brand, Camelot must take action if the brand is being used inappropriately.

National Lottery projects

People running National Lottery-funded projects can use a version of the crossed fingers logo. We grant them 'distributing rights' to use the logo, to show the positive impact of funded projects in their community.

There is information about using the logo on the National Lottery Community Fund website (opens in new tab) .