Is Your National Lottery Data in Danger of Being Compromised?

by | Jun 17, 2023

Millions of people in the UK participate in the National Lottery weekly, hoping to strike it lucky and win big. However, recent events have raised concerns about the safety and security of personal data for those who use the lottery’s products.

The concerns stem from the fact that both IGT and Camelot, companies that have supplied the game’s technology since 1994, will be ending their association with the UK game next year. This comes after Allwyn, a gambling empire owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komarek, won a 10-year contract to operate the competition from 2024.

Allwyn’s technology partner for the National Lottery is Scientific Games, but the firm has been in a stand-off with IGT over the process of handing over the operation of the lottery. This has led to senior MPs calling for IGT to “come clean” over its handling of UK lottery players’ data.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader, has called for IGT to reveal whether any data in the past has been passed on, what data has been passed on, and whether they are contractually bound to pass data to the Chinese company. This concern is not unfounded, as IGT’s formal privacy notice states that they may disclose information to affiliates, contractors, and service providers, such as operators or maintenance providers to service their products. The data could also be handed to “government agencies … as required by law”.

Furthermore, Telling-IGT Information Technology, a subsidiary of IGT, was created to operate lottery games in China, through a joint venture with Telling, a Chinese state-owned lottery firm. The amount of penetration in the UK of personal records and details is growing exponentially, and National Lottery players are at risk of having their personal information handed over to a Chinese state firm.

This raises concerns about the safety and integrity of UK data being passed on to Chinese firms, especially since UK government ministers were banned from using TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media app, on their work phones earlier this year.

Camelot’s hopes of running the National Lottery with IGT for another 10 years were extinguished after a High Court judge ruled that control of the draw can be passed to Allwyn. Allwyn subsequently bought Camelot, leading to Camelot dropping its estimated £600 million claim for damages against the Gambling Commission over its decision to award the lottery contract to Allwyn.

While Allwyn has promised to raise significantly more than Camelot for good causes, concerns about data privacy remain. IGT warns that the data of anyone using their products may be disclosed to “affiliates and contractors”. While they may have legitimate reasons for doing so, given their joint venture with a Chinese state-owned lottery firm, this raises concerns about data privacy and security.

James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, is in talks about visiting China next month amid frosty relations between the two countries. Given the concerns over data privacy and security, it will be interesting to see if this issue is raised during his visit.

Senior MPs are calling for IGT to reveal whether they are contractually bound to pass data to the Chinese company, and what measures are in place to ensure the safety and integrity of UK data. It is important for UK government ministers to address these concerns and ensure the safety and integrity of UK data.

In conclusion, concerns over data privacy and security are valid when it comes to the National Lottery. It is important for companies like IGT to be transparent about their handling of UK lottery players’ data and for UK government ministers to ensure the safety and integrity of UK data. As technology continues to advance, it is crucial that we prioritize data privacy and security to protect the personal information of individuals in the UK and around the world.