The European lottery operator Sazka Group has hired the former Chief Executive Officer of Sainsbury – Justin King – as an advisor on its bid to acquire the operating licence for the UK National Lottery.
Mr King, who is a veteran in the retail sector, currently occupies the vice-chairman position at Terra Firma, a private equity firm. Prior to the ten years spent at the leader’s position at Sainsbury, he also occupied top executive jobs at Marks & Spencer and Asda.
He is the first person appointed to a new advisory board that is concentrated on working on Sazka Group’s National Lottery licence tender. He is set to work in close collaboration with Sir Keith Mills on the company’s retail strategy after consideration of the possible ways in which the National Lottery could play an important part in bringing new life to high-street betting following the coronavirus pandemic.
Sazka Group s currently the biggest lottery owner in the territory of Europe. In 2020, the company revealed that it had decided to enter the competition for the operating licence of the UK National Lottery from its current operator Camelot. The UK National Lottery operator is set to e changed for the first time since it started operation in 1994.
It previously appointed Sir Keith Mills, who headed the London campaign in 2012 and occupied the position of deputy chairman at the London Organising Committee, to lead the UK National Lottery bill.
“Fresh Thinking” and “Innovative Approach” Needed to Bring Back Players to High Streets, King Says
Mr King, who is to now advise Sazka Group on the UK National Lottery operating licence bid. According to him, the strategy of bringing back people to their local high-street betting shops after the coronavirus pandemic requires an innovative approach and fresh thinking. Mr King also noted that the National Lottery of the UK could play an important role in the recovery process of British high-street gambling.
Furthermore, the newly-appointed advisor of Sazka Group said that high-street gambling should be restored to its previous glory by bringing back gamblers who have stopped playing. However, in his opinion, the UK National Lottery should also make its services more relevant and attractive to new audiences. Mr King said that the only way to ensure more funding for good causes and charities is consolidating the National Lottery, making it “vibrant and growing”.
The performance of the UK National Lottery was hurt during the coronavirus crisis but its online services managed to compensate for the betting shop closures. In November 2020, Camelot, the National Lottery operator, announced its second-best sales figures in its history saying that the surge came as a result of an increase in the number of older people who started playing online during the coronavirus lockdowns.