Skip to content

Gambling Commission kicks off exciting new era for UK National Lottery

Posted on 16 November 2018

Today the Gambling Commission has begun its initial, global market engagement to hear from businesses and investors interested in the UK National Lottery, when the current licence comes to an end in 2023. 

The UK National Lottery is one of the world’s largest lotteries in the world with 14 million people taking part in the draw-based games a month and £6.9 billion in sales last year alone. 

The world has changed since the UK National Lottery launched in 1994, when there were only four TV channels in the UK, no smartphones and social media was in its infancy. The Commission will be looking for and exploring the best ideas, innovations and experiences to create a National Lottery that is fit for the future.  

In 2019, the National Lottery will celebrate 25 years of generating money to good causes and the Commission will be placing significant importance in ensuring that, through innovative ideas, the next operator maximises returns to good causes for British society and builds on the £38 billion raised since it started, as well as ensuring that playing National Lottery products is as fair and safe as possible.  

The Gambling Commission regulates the current UK National Lottery licence and the wider gambling industry in Great Britain, and will begin initial discussions with the existing global lottery market next week at the World Lottery Summit in Buenos Aires (18-22 November). Over the coming months, it will also be planning engagement with wider finance and technology industries in the UK and abroad.   

This year, the Commission has established a specialist and separate team to manage the competition process and engage with potential bidders, along with setting up an Expert Advisory Group to help inform and shape the design of the competition for the future of the National Lottery. 

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission said:   

“The UK National Lottery is one of the largest lotteries in the world, the fourth licence competition is a unique and exciting opportunity for potential bidders an operator to sustain and build on the National Lottery’s achievements over the last 25 years.  

“The National Lottery is a multi-billion pound operation. Last year saw £6.9 billion in sales last year alone and we believe there is significant untapped potential for growth whilst still retaining the principles of being responsible, safe and fair. 

“In a world where 24-hour communication and technology continues to change at an increasingly fast pace, innovation and creativity will play a key part in making sure the National Lottery remains relevant in the future and are keen to hear from the widest range of businesses and interested parties from across the globe. 

“We are looking forward to meeting businesses, investors and interested parties over the next few months to help us to shape an exciting, fair and healthy competition which will take the UK National Lottery into a new era, and ensure it remains one of the biggest and best lotteries in the world.”  




Notes to editors

  1. More detail about the 4th National Lottery licence competition (4NLC) can be found at

  2. Initial market engagement timetable:


  3. The Gambling Commission is the UK’s independent, statutory body responsible for awarding licences to run the National Lottery and tasked with regulating it to ensure safe and fair play. It has three statutory duties regarding the National Lottery:
    • Ensuring the National Lottery is run with propriety
    • Ensuring that participants’ interests are protected
    • And (subject to the above) doing our best to ensure that the proceeds from the National Lottery are as great as possible.

  4. Key facts and figures regarding the UK National Lottery and the fourth licence competition:

    a. Every month 14 million people take part in National Lottery draw-based games and more play its range of instant wins.

    b. The National Lottery received £6.9 billion sales last year (2017/18).

    c. The National Lottery has raised over £38 billion for good causes.

    d. Over 5,000 millionaires have been created by the National Lottery.

    e. Over 20 million people watched the National Lottery launch its first live televised draw in November 1994.

    f. Approximately 45,000 retailers located throughout the UK sell National Lottery products.

    g. In total, the National Lottery has awarded over £67 billion in prizes.

    h. More than 535,000 individual grants of National Lottery funds have been made across the UK – the equivalent of more than 190 grants for every UK postcode.

    i. Proceeds from the National Lottery contributed £2.2 billion towards the cost of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Journalists can contact our press office on 0121 230 6700