Allwyn outlines initial National Lottery strategy following licence victory

Upon securing the next 10 year licence to the National Lottery, Allwyn Entertainment has provided an update on its operating strategy to its new holding, detailing a pan-European approach. 

In particular, Allwyn plans to share best practice in lottery operations and focus on improvement of draw-based games, leveraging its experience as an operator of several lotteries throughout the continent. 

Allwyn – owned by Czech billionaire Karel Komárek – is the company behind Sazka in its home market of the Czech Republic, as well as OPAP in Greece and Cyprus, Lotteries Austria and Lotto ‘Gioco’ Italia.

As the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) “preferred applicant” for the National Lottery contract, Allwyn has detailed that it will use its “unparalleled knowledge and expertise” of European lottery operations to “transform” the lottery.

The company further asserted that it believes the decision would be welcomed by other companies based in continental Europe “who are considering investment in post-Brexit Britain”.

“Allwyn Entertainment is a global lottery operator, so we’re thrilled by the opportunity to become the steward of the world’s finest lottery institution,” stated Robert Chvátal, Allwyn CEO.

“We’ve grown rapidly across Europe since 2012 by investing in lotteries and making them better, and we intend to build on this phenomenal track record in the UK once Allwyn takes control of day-to-day operations in 2024. I’d like to thank everyone who has worked on our bid and the Gambling Commission for running a fair and competitive competition.”

Allwyn’s first step following its success in the licence contest will be to implement its transition plan. Incumbent operator Camelot will continue to manage the lottery until 1 February 2024, when Allwyn will take the reins. Prior to this 22-month transition period there will be a 10-day legal standstill.

First initiated in October 2020, the bidding battle for the fourth National Lottery licence saw Allwyn triumph against stiff competition in the form of the aforementioned Camelot as well as Italian lottery firm Sisal SPA and media group Northern-&-Shell’s The New Lottery Company.

Former Sainsbury’s Plc CEO Justin King OBE, will serve as the Chairman of Allwyn’s UK business, having been chosen for the position last month – conditional on the firm’s success in the licence contest. 

King remarked: “I’m delighted that Allwyn’s proposal has been deemed the strongest to grow good causes in the safest and most sustainable way possible. 

“The Gambling Commission has run a lengthy and detailed process, and I’ve been extremely impressed by the attention they have paid to the challenges facing The National Lottery over the coming decades. 

“The National Lottery is a vital British institution and we’re focused on ensuring it plays an even bigger part in society by increasing participation, improving safeguards, and giving back more to good causes.”

Allwyn’s bid for the National Lottery was led by Sir Keith Mills, who – as the company detailed – has “built a team of local experts” to closely coordinate with the firm’s other European holdings in order to achieve the aforementioned goal of sharing best practice.  

The victorious suitor’s bid saw Allwyn initiative its UK rebrand from its SAZKA corporate name in order to adopt a more UK-focused approach. This was later expanded, with the entire international SAZKA Group adopting the Allwyn identity in order to reflect its status as a global brand. 

Additional areas of focus for Allwyn were Good Causes, something which has become increasingly prominent over the past year, with Team GB Olympic and Paralympic athletes appearing before parliament to discuss how National Lottery funds are directed towards their training and development. 

Sir Mills commented: “The National Lottery is a national treasure and we are honoured to have been chosen as its future custodian. With the Gambling Commission having put its trust in us, we can immediately start to enact our exciting plans to deliver The National Lottery back to the heart of our country. 

“We will do this by rekindling the meaning The National Lottery has for each of us, whether as individuals or as part of the communities we live in; whether we play The National Lottery or not.”

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