Home Estate Planning Media tycoon Richard Desmond’s lottery firm files claim against Gambling Commission

Media tycoon Richard Desmond’s lottery firm files claim against Gambling Commission

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British publishing group owned by media baron Richard Desmond has filed new legal action against the Gambling Commission.

Desmond’s Northern and Shell and its subsidiary, the New Lottery Company, launched a procurement lawsuit against the gambling regulator.

According to the High Court filing system, the parties have instructed UK-US law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) to bring the case to the Technology and Construction Court (TCC).

The Gambling Commission ran a procurement competition back in 2022 ahead of the next lottery licence as the one awarded to Camelot Group in 2009 was set to expire. The new license was was won by Czech gambling group Allwyn Entertainment.

This then kicked off legal action as Camelot sued the Commission in April 2022 after it failed to secure
that next licence. International Game Technology (IGT) joined Camelot in the dispute as the company provided operational software to Camelot.

In the background at the time, the New Lottery Company and Northern and Shell, which took part in the competition but were ruled out in phase one, filed a claim to the court in April 2022.

When the Camelot case went to court, Desmond’s businesses did not attend any hearings but it did have legal representative, law firm BCLP, in court watching the proceedings. His businesses were not involved in the Camelot case which proceeded to the High Court.

In June 2022, the court ruled in favour of the Gambling Commission in June against Camelot and IGT. The parties went on to appeal the decision but before it went to court, Camelot withdrew their appeals. IGT then followed as they stated they had no realistic option but to withdraw its own appeal.

IGT filed a fresh claim against the Gambling Commission and Allwyn in November 2022. A court concluded in July 2023 that IGT did not have the necessary standing to bring this procurement challenge.

A court ordered IGT last September to pay the legal costs for the Gambling Commission which reached nearly £4.2m after it instruction of Hogan Lovells partner Charles Brasted and Keating Chambers as counsel.

In the background, it was announced in December 2022 that Allwyn agreed to acquire the Camelot Lottery Solutions group of companies from its owners Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. That acquisition was completed last February.

Earlier this month, Allwyn took over as the National Lottery operator, which marked the first time the licence changed hands in thirty years.

A spokesperson for Gambling Commission told City A.M.:”We can’t comment on any ongoing court proceedings. However, no court has yet ruled against the Commission’s decision or the lawfulness/validity of the Competition. We remain resolute that we have run a fair and robust competition, and that our evaluation has been carried out fairly and lawfully in accordance with our statutory duties.”

Northern and Shell and the New Lottery Company were contacted for comment via their law firm BCLP.

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