National Lottery could be suspended for first time in 28 years due to ownership row

The British institution could be suspended due to new owner Allwyn not having enough time to set up their operation

Published

The National Lottery could be suspended for the first time in 28 years as a row in ownership reachers climax.

Current operator Camelot has launched a legal challenge in the High Court over the loss of its licence to Czech rival Allwyn.

Gambling Commission executive director John Tanner has said the delay brought about by the legal challenge could leave the new operator with insufficient time to set up their operation.

He said there is now a real risk "there will be a period when the National Lottery does not operate at all"

This comes after Joe and Jess Thwaite, from Gloucester, scooped a record-breaking £184,262,899 with a Lucky Dip ticket in the draw on Tuesday May 10.

National Lottery tickets
National Lottery tickets

The couple told the PA news agency they planned to share the win with extended family, with even Mr Thwaite’s ex-wife being “over the moon” for them.

Mr Thwaite, a communications sales engineer, and Mrs Thwaite, who runs a hairdressing salon with her sister, have been married for 11 years and have two primary school-aged children. Mr Thwaite has two university-aged children from a previous marriage.

Mr Thwaite said he had already handed his notice in at work, and despite not being “a great car person”, the 49-year-old told PA he wanted to upgrade his small Hyundai to his dream car – a Skoda Superb estate.

Joe and Jess Thwaite from Gloucestershire celebrate after winning the record-breaking EuroMillions jackpot of 184M
Joe and Jess Thwaite from Gloucestershire celebrate after winning the record-breaking EuroMillions jackpot of 184M

Asked how many bedrooms the couple had searched for with their dream home on the property website, 44-year-old Mrs Thwaite said: “It’s not the number of bedrooms, it was just the top amount you could spend.”

Asked what he had set as an upper price limit, Mr Thwaite told PA: “I don’t know, I think I got up to about £7 million and then I just thought I was being stupid. I thought ‘what are you doing?'”

“It was just for fun because we thought it wasn’t real. He just played for a minute and just dreamed for a minute,” Mrs Thwaite said.

Her husband added: “Yes, it was just a dream, like ‘imagine this’.”

The jackpot record was previously held by an anonymous ticket-holder who banked £170 million in October 2019.

The Thwaites’ good luck was the second EuroMillions jackpot won in the UK this year, with a £109 million prize from the draw on February 4 claimed a few days later.