National Lottery operator Camelot has vowed to fight on after the High Court threw out its call for a judicial review into the running of the Health Lottery.
Judges in the High Court today rejected Camelot’s call for a judicial review into the Gambling Commission’s decision to allow Richard Desmond’s rival lottery to operate.
Camelot argued that the Health Lottery was exploiting a “loophole” to effectively operative as a national game, while claiming to run weekly draws on behalf of 51 independent society lotteries.
But Lord Justice Burnton said the Gambling Commission had interpreted the law correctly and Camelot’s would have no realistic prospect of success in the event of a judicial review.
“The question whether multiple society lotteries should be permitted is a political question, to be determined by the Government or Parliament,” Burnton wrote in his judgment.
Camelot described this morning’s decision as “legally flawed and unfair”.
“It is imperative the government acts to close this loophole and ensure that the law mirrors the intention and will of Parliament that there should be only one National Lottery,” said Camelot group chief executive Dianne Thompson.
She added: “Time is of the essence. The longer the period of political inaction, the more incentive there is for other commercial operators to establish similar mass-market lotteries that would effectively cannibalise National Lottery sales and returns to the Good Causes.
“We are therefore calling on the government to set out immediately the process and the timetable it intends to pursue in order to discharge its ultimate responsibility for the National Lottery and the Good Causes it supports.”
Desmond (pictured) called the ruling “a complete vindication of all the hard work that has gone into launching the Health Lottery”.
“If Camelot [had] succeeded in this case they would have shut down lifeline funding to hundreds of health projects and charities and the charity sector would have lost out badly,” he added.
In private correspondence with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport quoted in today’s judgment, the Gambling Commission had previously described the Health Lottery as “the gambling equivalent of a tax avoidance scheme that exploits loopholes in the legislation”.