Department for Culture Media and Sport

regulation, licensing and operation

We are responsible for developing the policy framework for the National Lottery but are not directly involved in the regulation and operation of the Lottery.


The National Lottery Commission (NLC) is a non-departmental public body. It is responsible for regulating the National Lottery, in accordance with legislation, regulatory and policy directions from the Secretary of State. It does this independently of Government.

The Commission replaced the previous regulator, the Director General of the National Lottery, on 1 April 1999.

The National Lottery Commission's duties are:

  • To ensure that the National Lottery is run with all due propriety
  • To protect players' interests
  • Subject to the first two criteria, to ensure that as much money as possible is raised for the good causes

The National Lottery Commission's role includes:

  • Selecting the Lottery operator, setting the terms of its licence and ensuring that it complies with those terms
  • Vetting individuals and companies associated with the National Lottery to ensure that they are 'fit and proper'
  • Licensing individual games that form part of the National Lottery ensuring that the National Lottery operator pays the right amount of money into the National Lottery Distribution Fund

Further information about the work of the NLC, including details of its current chair and commissioners, can be found on the National Lottery Commission website

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The National Lottery Commission is responsible for deciding who will operate the National Lottery and awards the operating licence for the National Lottery.

On 30 August 2007, the National Lottery Commission finalized the terms of the third licence to operate the National Lottery with Camelot Group plc following a successful licence competition. An overview of the third licence competition, Creating a Lottery for the Future, can be found on the National Lottery Commission website

The Commission worked closely with Camelot to oversee a smooth transition and to ensure that the UK continues to have one of most successful lotteries in the world. The third licence started on 1 February 2009 and runs for ten years.

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Camelot Group plc has been running the National Lottery since it was awarded the licence in 1994. Camelot's responsibilities include:

  • Devising and operating games that form part of the National Lottery – each National Lottery game needs individual approval from the National Lottery Commission (NLC) or to comply with the terms of the licence awarded by the NLC to cover similar games
  • Marketing and promoting the National Lottery games 
  • Selecting National Lottery retail outlets
  • paying prizes
  • paying the appropriate share of turnover to the National Lottery Distribution Fund for the good causes

Since London was awarded the 2012 Olympic and Paralymic Games, Camelot launched its first Olympic Games Lottery scratchcards, which aim to raise £750 million towards the financing of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Net proceeds will be paid to the Olympic Games Lottery Distribution Fund.

Camelot has no role in making National Lottery grants to the good causes. This is the responsibility of the independent Lottery distributing bodies

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