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MPs Lash Out At Lottery CEO Over Delay

December 07, 2020

- Grant Whittington

The anticipated UK gambling reform has not even been officially published or passed, and already the cracks of what life could be like governed by legislation less lenient than the 2005 Gambling Act are starting to show.

A recent news story involving the National Lottery provides once again a particularly negative preview of a looming and certainly economically threatening new reality.

Gov And Lottery At Loggerheads

The UK’s National Lottery has long been a bone of extreme contention to local government, and particularly so owing to the involvement of the Camelot Group.

It’s also a tradition of strife that has just taken a new turn for the worst, with the National Lottery operator now newly embroiled in a fresh new fight with MPs after its chief executive cautioned government over the time it can be expected to take regarding the completion of the enforcement of the upcoming new Under-18s Lottery ban.

The expected time delay being anticipated by the National Lottery is the result of the operator having to change all of its nationwide signs placed in newsagents across the country. According to Camelot CEO Nigel Railton, who explained the expectation of a delay during a recent sitting of the APPG on Gambling Related Harm, changing the signs in shops across the country could take as long as up to 12 months due to this being a tremendously time-consuming effort and process.

Railton Tells It Like It Is

Railton reportedly addressed the meeting on the issue of the changing of said branding and signs, informing his audience that results should not be expected “overnight” and that even the smallest chance requires a lot of time and money.

The anticipated costs associated with the changing of the signs amount to roughly £6 million by way of an early estimation, the Camelot CEO told those present. The money, said Railton according to an inside source, isn’t as much a problem as what happens to be the current global health dilemma.

Railton reportedly also spoke of the many priorities of the National Lottery provider, saying that since the changing of signs would be considered one such priority, the sooner government makes up its mind, the sooner the company can get on the business of putting the necessary steps for chance into place.

MPs, in addition to their having dismissed Railton’s suggestion regarding the anticipated time frame, were allegedly not amused by the chief executive’s message and tone.

The Cart Put Before The Horse

Bringing the age limit down to 18+ is not yet part of actual UK gambling legislation. Instead, it’s a possibility which forms part of the upcoming gambling act review recently postponed to early 2021.

Should the new age limited be applied to National Lottery games, said age limit will govern National Lottery Draws, scratchcards, and all Interactive Instant-Win Lottery games.

Conservative MP Richard Holden has reportedly in the meantime lashed out at Railton by declaring a 12-month period required for the simple removal of “a few sticky signs” outright farcical and highly laughable.

Camelot Pledges Cooperation

Also added to the mix was the opinionated voice of MP Carolyn Harris, who currently chairs the Gambling Related Harm APPG.

Harris, a staunch opposer of gambling and sports betting in the country – regulated or no – referred to the Camelot chief executive’s expectation in terms of the timeframe as completely unacceptable. The MP also expressed her satisfaction at the expectation that the UK government is finally preparing for the 2021 launch the long-awaited review of the current gambling act.

Camelot has in the meantime declared its full willingness to cooperate with any decision taken by government – whether relating to the legal Lottery age limit, or any other aspect of its operations.

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