Technology supplier for the British National Lottery in a stand-off with the new operator, in a dispute highlighting the fraught process surrounding the first change of license in the lottery’s 29-year history.
International Game Technology demanded a multimillion-pound payment to facilitate the transfer of operations to Allwyn and partner Scientific Games, arguing that it has limited contractual obligations to help, according to several people close to the process. The group has supplied the software and hardware supporting more than 30,000 lottery terminals used at retailers to the current operator Camelot since 1994.
Allwyn – who in March last year won the tender for one of the best procurement contracts in England – is now quickly preparing for the opening of the newly minted lottery in February next year after a legal battle with rival Camelot delayed the handover by six months. .
The New York-listed IGT – which last year made a huge profit of $618 million “from the world” in the UK, the fourth largest market – has so far only shown a proposal on how to switch from the Altura lottery terminal to the system used by Scientific Games will can, people say.
But the software changeover, which IGT estimates could take up to six months to complete, has yet to begin because IGT is demanding payment from the Czech-based group before deploying extra staff and resources to work on the project.
People close to the lottery transition said there were concerns the delay could disrupt the process of trying to hand it over to a new technology supplier.
Camelot and IGT, and Allywn and Scientific Games, hold daily meetings, overseen by regulators. One person familiar with the process said IGT made the handover a “nightmare”, adding: “They did what was technically required and not an ounce of it.”
The stand-off highlights the challenges presented by the first-ever transfer of lottery operations, whose 10-year contract from 2024 could generate up to £100bn in sales, according to official estimates.
There is a precedent for handovers between the two technology suppliers in question: Scientific Games succeeded IGT as the lead technology supplier for the Danish Danske Spil state lottery in 2016, although this transition was delayed for years.
As part of the winning bid, Allwyn promised to invest heavily in new digital products, cut ticket prices and raise money for good causes. If IGT stays on as a technology provider, Gambling Commission insiders fear it could put at risk Allwyn’s plan to overhaul the offering of online lottery products.
In November last year, Allwyn bought Camelot from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, a Canadian pension fund, for £120 million, after previously competing with Camelot in a battle for National Lottery contacts. As a result of the purchase, Camelot dropped approximately £ 600 million claim for damages against the Gambling Commission through the procurement decision for the UK National Lottery.
But IGT is still pursuing a claim against the regulator about what it claims is a shoddily open procurement process. IGT claims also run into hundreds of millions of pounds but the exact amount is unknown and, if successful, will have to be paid for by either the taxpayer or from the good lottery cause of funds.
IGT said it “continues cooperation” with the Gambling Commission in the transition but declined to comment on the legal action.
Allwyn said it has “worked diligently” in the transition, and added: “Despite the legal case, we are confident that IGT appreciates the responsibility to do what is best for the National Lottery.”
Scientific Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe in London