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 operator Camelot has launched legal action against the Gambling Commission after losing its licence to a billionaire Czech tycoon.

According to court records, Camelot filed a High Court claim against the Gambling Commission on Thursday evening.

Its chief executive Nigel Railton said the firm was bringing the legal action because it ‘firmly believes the Gambling Commission has got this decision badly wrong’.

It comes after Camelot lost its licence to operate the lottery after some 28 years.  

On March 15 the gambling commission announced that Allwyn, owned by businessman Karel Komarek, was the preferred applicant to take over the venture in 2024.

The firm, previously known as Sazka before it rebranded with an anglicised name during the bidding process, has pledged to double charitable donations to £38billion over the next decade.  

Allwyn also proposed halving ticket prices to £1 as part of its takeover bid, after Camelot doubled the cost of entry to £2 in 2013.It could launch two Saturday night draws in a bid to increase its player pool. 

The decision came after a bidding process between four parties for the licence, which Camelot has held since 1994.

In the competition, which is said to have attracted the highest number of candidates, the other applicants were Sisal Spa, Camelot and The New Lottery Company Ltd.  

National Lottery operator Camelot (chief executive Nigel Railton pictured) has launched legal action against the Gambling Commission after losing its licence to a billionaire Czech tycoon

National Lottery operator Camelot (chief executive Nigel Railton pictured) has launched legal action against the Gambling Commission after losing its licence to a billionaire Czech tycoon

Commission officials said on March 15 that Allwyn, owned by businessman Karel Komarek (pictured with his wife in 2019), was the preferred applicant to take over the venture in 2024

Commission officials said on March 15 that Allwyn, owned by businessman Karel Komarek (pictured with his wife in 2019), was the preferred applicant to take over the venture in 2024

Mr Railton added: ‘Despite lengthy correspondence, the commission has failed to provide a satisfactory response.We are therefore left with no choice but to ask the court to establish what happened.

‘Irrespective of Camelot’s dual roles as current operator and togel online applicant for the next National Lottery licence, the competition is one of the largest UK Government-sponsored procurements and the process deserves independent scrutiny.

‘Separately, more than 1,000 Camelot employees work tirelessly to successfully operate the National Lottery under the current licence and, at the very least, they are owed a proper explanation.’

Figures released by Camelot paint a rosy picture at the company, recording 62 per cent growth in sales since 2009, while 60 per cent of UK adults regularly play National Lottery games. 

Despite this, the Hertfordshire-based group lost out to its Czech rivals during the bidding process.It is understood the Allwyn bid was a technology-first approach that highlighted a commitment to furthering its spend on good causes. 

The Gambling Commission has said the selection ‘follows a fair, open and robust competition’.

The Gambling Commission's decision came after a bidding process between four parties for the licence, which Camelot has held since 1994 (file photo of a National Lottery ticket)

The Gambling Commission’s decision came after a bidding process between four parties for the licence, which Camelot has held since 1994 (file photo of a National Lottery ticket)

Hertfordshire-based Camelot (headquarters above) filed a High Court claim against the Gambling Commission on Thursday evening, according to court records

Hertfordshire-based Camelot (headquarters above) filed a High Court claim against the Gambling Commission on Thursday evening, according to court records

<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news floatRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-8982afd0-b1ab-11ec-821a-23ddbcea771c" website launches legal action to take back control of National Lottery

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