Licence to print money: how the application process works

On 30 September 2001, Camelot's licence to run the National Lottery expires, and the search for the next seven-year franchisee has begun. The procedure (known as the ITA, or "invitation to apply") is being run by the regulator, the National Lottery Commission (NLC). The NLC fired the starting gun in July when it announced the basis upon which the next licence would be granted. Applications, it has stipulated, should address the issues of security and consumer protection, and outline how new technology will be deployed. In September a draft ITA and draft licence were published. As part of the consultation a bidders and suppliers conference was held on 26 October. The final ITA will be issued in late November; bidders must signal their intent to apply by 7 January 2000 and the deadline for completed applications is noon on 29 February. The five-strong commission expects to announce the winner by the end of June; the licence is effective from 1 October 2001.