What would you do if a mobile app notified you that you hold a losing lottery ticket? That would be fine and acceptable, knowing that the odds of winning the lottery are low. Most of us look forward to the next draw, buy another ticket, rely on our favorite numbers, or just go all in with the operator’s quick pick.
But something different happened to thousands of lottery owners who purchased tickets from Camelot, the National Lottery operator. In a major blunder, the operator notified over 20,000 individuals that their winning tickets had lost!
Now, the word is out, and Camelot has been fined £3.15million and has officially lost its license.
A Camelot’s app error
According to multiple news reports, thousands of lottery players in the UK were accidentally notified that their winning tickets had lost. It was attributed to an error in Camelot’s app when around 20,000 players were told that they have losing tickets after scanning the QR codes. According to the UK Gambling Commission, the lottery blunder happened between November 2016 and September 2020.
After confirming the incident and background checks, Camelot has been fined £3.15million for at least two issues in its app that affected thousands of lottery players. In addition, it was reported that more than 22,000 bought single tickets, but the app charged for two tickets. For this issue, the concerned players either received their refunds or paid for their wins.
Another issue is related to the marketing messages sent to UK customers. Gambling-related messages have been sent out to players who have self-excluded themselves from gambling through Gamstop and those players that Camelot has already identified with gambling addiction. Gamstop is a popular free service that enables users to restrict their online gambling activities. These marketing messages were sent to 65,400 players, but the good news is that none of them purchased the National Lottery tickets using the app.
Response of the Gambling Commission
Once again, the Gambling Commission has taken the lead in protecting the players’ welfare. In a statement, Andrew Rhodes, the Chief Executive, shared that Camelot has already taken the proper steps to ensure their app is fit. However, he warned the company that any failings on their part shall be met with consequences. Mr. Rhodes then used the Camelot’s experience to remind the gambling operators about their roles in keeping the gambling industry a safe place for all players.
He added that the Commission is always ready to investigate issues and provide necessary remedies and recommendations. In addition, the Gambling Commission has announced that Camelot will give the money (from the fines) to good causes.
What’s next for Camelot?
According to reports, the company is set to lose the license to run the national lottery after 28 years in operations. Camelot was granted the chance to appeal the decision of the Gambling Commission, but this was later denied. With the formality of the court decision, the road is set for Allwyn to assume the mantle as the new operator of the National Lottery in the United Kingdom. In addition to Allwyn, at least three other operators joined the fierce bidding war for the right to operate the lottery services.
Allwyn will take over the National Lottery from 2024. It will be a 10-year license and is considered one of the most valuable government procurement contracts. According to estimates, the contract with Allwyn will be worth between £80bn and £100b in lottery sales.