This week’s Cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson could have implications for the future of the UK’s National Lottery as the bidding process for the next operator faces delays.
Overseas and domestic operators who had been hoping to take part in the tender process that has been organised by the UK Gambling Commission have already had to deal with a variety of delays. Earlier in the week, a report in the Financial Times revealed that the Commission had still not sent out the necessary procurement questionnaire, a key part of the bidding process, which was due to be released at the beginning of the month.
The report added that tender schedule is likely to face delays of up to three months, which will be the cause of frustration for firms hoping to challenge Camelot’s status as lottery operators.
And now it seems that politics could add to the delays. Reports in the UK media suggest that Johnson is reconsidering the various ministerial responsibilities within the government, which could see a change in which ministry supervises the tender process. It has been reported that he is considering moving responsibility for overseeing the tender from the Department of Culture, Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS) to a new expanded business ministry or even the Cabinet Office.
An additional delay is expected this week due to the restructuring of the senior cabinet, while all ministers are waiting to see what will be in the Spring Budget.
There is speculation that Johnson wants to reduce the demands placed on DCMS this year, with the Department set to conduct reviews into the BBC licensing fee and digital standards in the UK. Meanwhile, the UKGC has stated that the dates in its original timetable were intended to be indicative and that all bidding firms will be on an equal footing at the start of the tender process.