UK National Lottery Act

Lottery betting is an integral part of the legal UK gambling spectrum. The National Lottery is the main source for these games and it was born out of the National Lottery Act in 1993. The law’s goals were to introduce a regulated lottery system that generated profits for good causes in the United Kingdom. This page is dedicated to the National Lottery Act and covers the law in its entirety, including how regulation works and the impacts of the law.

When Did The National Lottery Launch?

After the passing of the National Lottery Act, the first official National Lottery started in November 1994. The first draw took place that same week. The National Lottery was created to give back to the community, much like other lottery platforms seen in countries like the United States of America. Since its inception, the National Lottery has raised over £35 billion for good causes while simultaneously paying out consumers over £59 billion in prizes.

What Did The National Lottery Act Do?

It introduced the Office of the National Lottery. This was the first regulatory agency behind the lottery (UK Gambling Commission didn’t come in until later). It also designated good causes for lottery proceeds to be disbursed to and allowed the Office of the National Lottery to authorise a licenced operator. Camelot won the first-ever lottery licence after a bidding process. Their original licence was set to expire in 2001. Camelot reportedly won the bid based on their ability to contribute to the good causes deemed by the Office of the National Lottery with the lowest turnover rate regarding operating costs, profits, etc.

Who Regulates The National Lottery?

The National Lottery used to be regulated by the Office of the National Lottery. In 1999, the National Lottery Commission was formed to succeed the Office of the National Lottery. Mark Harris became the first ever Chief Executive. The UK Gambling Commission was launched in 2006 with the Gambling Act, though the lottery did not originally fall under its regulatory responsibilities. It wasn’t until 2013 that the UK Gambling Commission absorbed the National Lottery Commission.

The UK Gambling Commission regulates to ensure that consumers receive fair treatment, the Nation’s interest in the lottery remains protected and the licenced operator (Camelot) does everything in its power to maximize the proceeds raised for good causes. As far as other regulation, there is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (the group that sponsors the UK Gambling Commission), Camelot (the licenced operator) and entities that help with the distribution such as the Big Lottery Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Who Is Licenced To Operate The National Lottery?

Licencing has been monopolized in the United Kingdom throughout the National Lottery’s lifespan. Camelot was initially granted a 7-year licence back in 1994. In December 2000 they were awarded another 7-year licence. When June 2006 came around, the bidding process started up again with 2 entries received by early 2007. In August of that year, the National Lottery Commission issued another licence to Camelot. That third licence came into effect in 2009 and was supposed to last for a period of 10 years. However, the licence was extended by 4 years (now ending in 2023) on the grounds that Camelot produced 8,000 more terminals in the country.

About Camelot—The Licenced National Lottery Operator In The U.K.

Camelot was originally owned by 5 different shareholders—Cadbury Schweppes, Royal Mail Enterprises, De La Rue, Fujitsu Services and Thales Electronics. They all collectively agreed to sell their shares to Ontario Teachers Pension Plan in 2010. The National Lottery Commission approved the sale after careful review of the OTPP.

On top of maintaining the National Lottery structure, Camelot UK is responsible for designing new lottery games, marketing new lottery products and services, providing consumer protections and customer service options for players and winners and coordinating the network for ticket sales. Technically, Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is a part of the larger conglomerate, Camelot Group. There are multiple entities within the Camelot Group, including the Camelot Global Services Limited, Camelot Business Solutions Limited, and Camelot Global Lottery Solutions Limited.

Camelot has done a great job in the long tenure it has had as the National Lottery operator. They have developed new games, built new gaming terminals and launched multiple lottery style games for citizens to use. They even raised over £500 million for the 2012 Olympics held in London.



The National Lottery has multiple game offerings for citizens to use. Lotto is the most popular version. They also have Euro Millions, an international lottery offering with large jackpot prizes available. Players can access instant win games as well as Thunder Ball, Lotto Hotpicks, Euro Millions Hotpicks and a Game Store with more options.

How Much Of The Proceeds Go Back To Good Causes?

The National Lottery keeps just 1% in profit off lottery revenue. 95% percent goes towards good causes and lottery winners. The remaining 4% is used to pay for operating costs, making the National Lottery one of the most well-run enterprises in the world (regarding lotteries). In 2017, 40% of proceeds went to health, education, environment, and charitable causes. 20% went to sports, 20% went to arts and 20% went to heritage preservation.

When Will Camelots License Run Out?

Camelot’s licence is set to expire in 2023. It is likely that they will have their licence extended or win their bid if it comes to that. The U.K. has worked with Camelot exclusively over the years and the operator has brought many positive developments to the industry.


National Lottery Act of 1993

The U.K. National Lottery Commission