The tender process for the licence launched in August 2020 and was initially set to run for one year, with the aim of selecting a winning bid by September of this year.
However, after the first phase of the bidding process, the regulator last month opted to add another four weeks to the second phase, plus six further weeks for the Commission to evaluate bids.
Current licensee Camelot’s licence was also extended for six more months to February 2024 as a result.
The Commission will now begin the evaluation process, which will include a presentation by each of the applicants to the regulator, with the hope of announcing a preferred applicant in early 2022.
“We are delighted by the final number of applications we have received, which is unprecedented since the start of the National Lottery,” Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition (4NLC) executive director John Tanner said. “The Commission will now evaluate these applications in a clear and robust process.
“Our job is to run the best competition we possibly can – one that is open and fair and results in the best outcome for players and good causes. We look forward to appointing a licensee that will build on the National Lottery’s legacy and maximise the opportunities for innovation and creativity whilst protecting the special status of the National Lottery.”
The Commission did not disclose the identity of the applicants, but it has previously been revealed that Italian lottery operator Sisal, pan-European lottery and gaming giant Sazka, and India’s largest lottery operator Sugal & Damani have all applied.
Incumbent licensee Camelot completed the Selection Questionnaire in October 2020, but has not yet publicly confirmed whether it was bidding for the tender.
This week, Sisal announced a new advisory board to support its bid for the licence, with British business executive Karren Brady to chair the board.
Crossbench peer, chair of Social Enterprise UK and chair and founder of Collaborate, Lord Victor Adebowale, will also serve on the new board, alongside former Asda chief executive and non-executive chairman Andy Clarke.
Other members include experienced international operator, Plc and private equity executive Gary Hughes, UK Creative Industries leader MT Rainey, and Conservative Peer and former Minister for Culture Lord Ed Vaizey.
Sisal has already partnered with telecommunications giant BT and British children’s charity Barnardo’s to support its application.