Before the National Lottery bidding contest, David Craven will take over as CEO of Allwyn, the UK brand of European lottery provider Sazka Group.
Craven’s past expertise as Managing Director of The Tote and CEO of World Gaming, as well as co-founder of digital media firm UPC/Chello, contributed to his success as a candidate.
Sir Keith Miles, the founder of Air Miles and Nectar and the promoter of the 2012 London Olympic Games bid, said Craven’s “phenomenal track record in software, broadband, and gaming gives him an excellent understanding of this,” alluding to Allwyn’s digital lottery management strategy.
Miles commented: “For many years, Allwyn’s parent company Sazka Group has pursued a digital-first approach to lotteries across Europe.
“Not only has this produced impressive online sales growth, but it has also translated to consistently strong sales growth in the retail sector too.
“Any business that wants to grow its customer base must be able to demonstrate a credible plan to invest in and deploy the latest technology.”
Craven’s hiring comes as Sazka, located in the Czech Republic, prepares to enter the fourth bidding war for the running rights to the UK’s National National lottery through its Allwyn business, which has obtained financing from telecoms giant Vodafone.
Allwyn has made a number of changes to its management team in order to strengthen its bid. Dr. Mark Griffiths, Twitter UK Managing Director Dara Nasr, Amanda Horton-Mastin, Justin King CBE, Brent Hoberman CBE, and Charles Garland have all been added to the advisory board.
Craven commented: “National Lotteries are needed now more than eve. I’ve always focused on how technology can be used to improve the customer experience, whether that be in-store or online.
“Not only does this mean making games fun and exciting, but I passionately believe that technology is the best way to safeguard customers.”
Leveraging key partnerships
The Fourth National Lottery licencing competition, coordinated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has placed a focus on leveraging key partnerships to re-engage the lottery with consumers on a mass-market basis while raising funds for good causes.
Italy’s Sisal – which collaborated with Vodafone’s rival BT – India’s Sugal & Daman, and existing operator Camelot, which has had the National Lottery licence for 30 years – are among Allwyn’s main opponents in the competition.