Lottery Operator Scrutinised by Parliament Over Ties to Putin Regime

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Alan Evans

Updated by Alan Evans

News Writer

Last Updated 11th Jun 2024, 12:11 PM

Lottery Operator Scrutinised by Parliament Over Ties to Putin Regime

With the ongoing War between Russia and Ukraine and calls for tougher sanctions against Russia concerns have been raised over the link between the parent company of UK National Lottery owner Allwyn and the Russian-state energy giant Gazprom.

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Questions Over Russian Links Since 2022 

The row has rolled on since March 2022 when The Gambling Commission decided to award Allwyn the lucrative 10-year licence to run the lottery, estimated to be worth up to £100 billion in sales. Allwyn won the contract from the previous National Lottery operator Camelot.   

At the time Tory MP Dean Russell asked deputy prime minister Dominic Raab about concerns over the links in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russell said: “I do wonder, given the current situation in Ukraine, if he (Raab) considers it appropriate that the next licensee of the operator of the national lottery is known to have a joint venture with Gazprom?”

Raab replied that Allwyn’s owner, Karel Komarek, has long criticised the Putin regime and “is in discussions with the Czech Republic government regarding the joint venture with Gazprom and removing its involvement.”

During Parliamentary Scrutiny Allwyn said that sanctions associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine could affect its business but denied it is especially vulnerable.  

A spokesperson for Allwyn said: "The potential impact of sanctions is a standard risk factor that virtually every US listed company with international operations is making in light of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. 

Gambling Commission Regulations Ensure Contractor Meets ‘Fit and Proper Test’ 

MP’s have questioned whether the company has any financial ties to the Putin regime including the Shadow culture secretary Alex Davies-Jones who asked if the Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Philip , could confirm he was confident that the new provider has no links to the Russian regime. 

Minister Chris Philip said that the Gambling Commission as part of their licence award process, have a ‘statutory obligation’ to make sure that anyone given a licence ‘meets the fit and proper person test’. 

The Gambling Commission said it had taken steps to establish that Allwyn was not funded by any sanctioned entities. It said money for good causes was still projected to increase in line with Allwyn’s predictions, adding that Allwyn was also bound by requirements to comply with player protection strategies to limit gambling harms. 

Meet The Author

Alan Evans
Alan Evans
News Writer News Writer

Most of my career was spent in teaching including at one of the UK’s top private schools. I left London in 2000 and set up home in Wales raising four beautiful children. I enrolled at University where I studied Photography and film and gained a Degree and subsequently a Masters Degree. In 2014 I helped launch a new local newspaper and managed to get front and back page as well as 6 filler pages on a weekly basis. I saw that journalism was changing and was a pioneer of hyperlocal news in Wales. In 2017 I started one of the first 24/7 free independent news sites for Wales. Having taken that to a successful business model I was keen for a new challenge. Joining the company is exciting for me especially as it is a new role in Europe. I am keen to establish myself and help others to do the same.

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