Brent Hoberman: UK levelling up requires a bold National Lottery steward

Brent Hoberman (CBE) has stated that the government faces a critical choice in revitalising the National Lottery by breaking its ‘current status quo’ – allowing a vital institution and funding resource to be modernised.

Writing in City AM, the former founder of Lastminute.com remarked that any plans for the government to ‘level-up the UK’ would require significant help from the National Lottery.

Yet, maintaining its current format, Hoberman believes that the National Lottery will struggle to support the government’s agenda in a post-Covid world.

Having joined SAZKA Group’s ‘advisory teamcompeting to win the UK’s Fourth National Lottery Licence, Hoberman stated that most important was for the government to appoint an operating company to ‘make the lottery stand out in a crowded digital environment’.

“Huge ad campaigns cannot hide the fact that millions of people – 8.5 million have stopped playing the lottery over the past decade,” he said. “The switch to digital solutions and the increased competition from new gaming platforms have made the lottery look old-fashioned. Having spent a career leveraging new technologies to drive progress and solve problems, I am confident that there is potential for the National Lottery to embrace technological change and improve the ways we play.”

The tech figurehead called on the government to appoint a ‘bold next steward’ capable of modernising the National Lottery for the 21st century.

Facing a continued downturn, Hoberman underscored that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) should support ‘fresh perspectives’ to revitalise the National Lottery whether by ‘learning from success stories from abroad or in coming up with entirely new approaches to playing’.

As the UK navigates tricky post-Covid environments, he acknowledged that drastic gambling reforms will be placed at the forefront of the UK’s agenda as the government undertakes consecutive reviews of the 2005 Gambling Act and National Lottery licence tender.

“Ultimately, the objectives for bidders are simple: relaunch the lottery, win back lost customers, and attract a new generation of players in a way that protects the vulnerable. But tinkering on the margins won’t do,” Hoberman concluded.

“It is time for bold thinking to be married with sound business plans and proven track records of success so the National Lottery can move confidently and seamlessly into a new era.”

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