NEWSAGENTS across the UK have expressed concerns about the future of the National Lottery as bids for a new operator have opened after almost three decades.

Newsagents are worried a new operator would want to accelerate online and app sales which could prove disastrous for local convenience stores.

The Gambling Commission is set to announce whether Camelot will keep hold of the licence for a fourth term in the next six months.

And according to The Grocer, nearly half of convenience retailers (44 per cent) say the National Lottery is more important to their business than ever.

Sisal, Allwyn, Sugal & Damani and Camelot are currently in contention for the new licence with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Northern & Shell other companies rumoured to be applying.


44,000 retailers across the UK currently work with Camelot earning around 5% commission on each draw-based game.

Jason Birks, deputy VP at the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN), said: “Currently, the National Lottery does have an online presence but I’ve heard that some of the bidders want to do a lot more online and from a high street point of view, and from the point of view of community-based retailing, we need to protect bricks and mortar.

“Those in government need to not only view online as the ‘trendy’ thing to do but bear in mind that people still like to visit bricks and mortar retailing.”

one independent retailer told The Grocer: “I don’t think Camelot deserve another licence as for the last few years they have been very average with limited innovation, mediocre support for retailers with too much red tape.

“A new licensee should create a fresh approach and more energy.”

A Camelot spokesperson said National Lottery retailers earned around £7,000 in commission on average in 2019/20.

A statement read: "We fundamentally believe that The National Lottery's success – which culminated in record sales last year – is reliant on building and maintaining a healthy retail channel.

"That's why we've invested heavily in retail at the same time as growing the largest digital lottery channel in the world by revenue…

"While we're unable to share specific details of our bid, we can say that Camelot's philosophy remains the same – with retail being a cornerstone of our strategy. National Lottery retailers have been fantastic partners to us over the past 27 years and, as they've always been there for us, they can expect our continued support."