Allwyn pledges ‘fresh life’ for Lottery as preferred applicant to take over

Czech operator Allwyn has pledged to “breathe fresh life” into the National Lottery after being named the likely contender to take over the venture.

The Gambling Commission said on Tuesday that Allwyn, owned by Czech businessman Karel Komarek and previously known as Sazka Entertainment, was its “preferred applicant” to run the lottery when Camelot’s licence expires in 2024.

The commission said Allwyn had committed to invest in the National Lottery to deliver growth and innovation across the various products and channels and increasing contributions to good causes.

Alongside Allwyn, the other applicants were Sisal Spa, Camelot and the New Lottery Company Ltd, with the competition attracting the most ever candidates.

Allwyn bid chairman Sir Keith Mills (PA)

(PA Archive)

The commission noted in its announcement that it was “satisfied that no application is impacted by sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine”.

It has emerged that Komarek’s company MND (Moravske Naftove Doly) formed a joint venture with Russian energy group Gazprom to build an underground gas storage facility in his home country, which opened in Moravia in 2016.

Allwyn operates across Europe including in Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus, and Italy.

As part of its bid Allwyn pledged to donate £38 billion to good causes over the next decade, almost equivalent to the £45 billion Camelot raised since it began running the national lottery in 1994.

It has also proposed reducing ticket prices from £2 to £1 and having two draws on one night.

The Allwyn bid chairman, Sir Keith Mills, was instrumental in winning the 2012 Olympics bid for London and in organising the Games, while its advisory board also includes the former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King.

Allwyn said: “We welcome today’s statement by the Gambling Commission that we have been selected as the preferred applicant for the fourth National Lottery licence.

“Our proposal was judged to be the best way of growing returns to good causes by revitalising the National Lottery in a safe and sustainable way.

“The appointment of Allwyn will breathe fresh life into the National Lottery. In Allwyn, the Gambling Commission has selected a strong team with an impressive track record of improving lotteries.

“We will immediately work to deliver our comprehensive transition plan and look forward to transforming the National Lottery, making it better for everyone.”

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