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Ensuring a fair Lottery for the nation
£35 billion for good causes
£59 billion in prizes

Licence to operate the Lottery (Section 5 licence)

Following a competitive bidding process, the National Lottery Commission originally awarded Camelot a ten year licence to run the National Lottery, starting in 2009. In March 2012 this was extended by four years. Over this 14 year period we will amend our regulatory regime where appropriate, including the terms of the licence, to do the following:

  • cut bureaucracy,
  • give Camelot more freedom,
  • better protect Lottery players and the money they raise for good causes.

The Third licence to operate the National Lottery details all of the changes we have agreed with Camelot to date to the licence to run the National Lottery.

The Notice of decision - 6 March 2012 gives details about the licence extension.

The licence requires Camelot to submit some documents and policies to us for approval, and for greater transparency these decisions are also included in the Approvals consents variations and disapplications and waivers table. The table has been divided into five different types of changes to the licence; approvals, consents, variations, waivers and disapplications. The meanings of these changes are below.

Definition of terms


Some provisions of the Third Licence require Camelot to submit documents or issues to us for approval.

In the case of documents, this is where we want to be sure of, and to agree, the specific details set out in the document. For example the Strategy to prevent underage play.

In the case of issues that require approval, the licence generally requires Camelot to seek our approval if the issue might have an impact on the National Lottery and we need to understand that impact. An example is that we require Camelot to seek our approval of additional activities.


This is a similar process to an approval. It reflects that we agree to allow Camelot to pursue a course of action.


This is where we make a permanent change to a licence provision. Some licence provisions can only be changed with Camelot’s consent. In other cases we can impose a variation. Reasons for making a variation include:

  • a change in circumstances means that the licence doesn’t regulate Camelot as it should,
  • there is a lack of clarity about what is required, or
  • if Camelot acts in a way we feel is inappropriate and which we wish to regulate in future.


This is where we excuse Camelot from its obligation to comply with a licence requirement in one particular set of circumstances. For example Camelot has to have a retailer in every postcode district that has more than 2000 residents. Camelot is unable to do so if there are few retailers in that district and those that are there refuse to take a National Lottery terminal. In such cases we waive the licence obligation insofar as it applies to that area.


This flows from our ‘REx Earned Autonomy programme’ which is designed to remove regulatory burdens where Camelot has a strong proven track record. A disapplication means that we have removed one of the obligations on Camelot from the Licence. For example it is no longer required to display U16 notices in shops. It’s not a variation because we can, if we consider it appropriate, reinstate the provision as it was originally set out in the licence on notice to Camelot.

Approvals, consents, variations and waivers also apply in relation to the licences to individual Lottery games. To date there have been no disapplication of individual game licences.

Page last reviewed: October 2013