Czech gambling conglomerate SAZKA Group has officially confirmed that it has entered the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) competition for the 4th licence to operate the National Lottery.
Since the UKGC published its competition timetable at the start of the year, SAZKA has long been viewed as a ‘National Lottery suitor’ seeking to win the multi £ billion operating contract from incumbent Camelot Group.
Confirming that SAZKA had completed the UKGC’s ‘selection questionnaire’, Robert Chvatal said: “As a leader in operating lotteries across Europe, SAZKA has made no secret of the fact that we would be thrilled to operate the UK National Lottery.
“The UK National Lottery is a national treasure with a proud 26-year history. Now it is looking forward to the next decade and how it can best serve its customers in a world so disrupted by digital transformation, the fourth industrial revolution and Covid. The landscape from when the UK National Lottery was launched back in 1994 has changed beyond measure.”
Chvatal confirmed that SAZKA was in the ‘process of hiring a UK team’ tasked with ‘building the partnerships and relationships necessary to deliver a compelling case’ for SAZKA to revitalise the National Lottery for the benefit of all stakeholders and customers.
Winning the National Lottery contract has been marked as the top priority by company founder Karel Komarek Jnr, the billionaire financier who in 2019 split all SAZKA gambling assets from investment partner EMMA Capital, as part of its plan to refocus the group on its lottery and gambling foundations.
Taking full control of SAZKA, Komarek and Chvatal have undertaken an aggressive European M&A expansion plan, with SAZKA securing majority ownership of Greek lottery operator OPAP and Casinos Austria.
This August, UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur formally launched the National Lottery 4th licence competition, stating that the Commission would reward the party which “maximises the opportunities for players and good causes to benefit from innovation and creativity, whilst protecting the National Lottery’s unique status”.
McArthur and the UKGC’s advisory panel underlined that competitors would be marked on four key conditions related to ‘operator transparency’, ‘a focus on performance’, ‘developing the best incentive mechanism’ and ‘protecting the National Lottery brand’.
Backing SAZKA’s track record as Europe’s largest lotteries operator and the firm’s intent to win the UKGC tender, Chvatal stated: “At Sazka we have a track record of facilitating the evolution of established lotteries to innovate for their successful future. We are serious about our intentions and respectful of the process we are entering in to.
“This was an important and exciting moment for us, marking our official entry into the competition. We trust that our submission will demonstrate our professional track record and technical capabilities.”