Robert Chvatal, Group CEO of Allwyn International, has asserted that the pan-European lottery conglomerate can balance its organic and M&A growth in what promises to be a transformative 2023.
Speaking to SBC following the publication of Allwyn International’s Q1 results, which incorporated the performance of Camelot UK assets, the transaction resulted in an impressive 80% surge in revenues to €1.6bn, and a group adjusted EBITDA increase of 62% to €280m.
Beyond demonstrating its financial muscle, Allwyn has now entered its seventh European market, taking control of Camelot’s business. This deal is required to facilitate the technical and retail transition of the Fourth National Lottery contract beginning February 2024.
When asked if Allwyn had divulged Camelot’s financial contribution too early, as its business is yet to be fully integrated, Chvatal responded: “It is an obligation since we purchased the remainder of the third license. We own 100% of the Camelot business, which is now a part of our business, so we have to report on it.
“It’s not about appearing bigger now. We are active in seven markets; we are operating the National Lottery now, rather than in a year’s time.”
The stakes remain high as Chvatal personally oversees the transition of Camelot’s operating contract as National Lottery steward, a goliath-like task that has never before been undertaken.
“We acquired Camelot to de-risk the transition. But let’s be mindful that this is by far the largest business transformation that has occurred in the history of lotteries.
“We have to account for over 400,000 retail terminals and digitally transfer over 12 million customers to new core lottery systems. Camelot will merge into being Allwyn UK as of 1st February 2024, but we have bought the business and its people to transition into the Fourth License.”
Embracing the generational transfer of the National Lottery, Chvatal expressed confidence that Allwyn possesses the technical capacity and operational know-how to deliver its UK business. This has been proven in the markets of the Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria.
“In each and every market where we operate, we work with hand-picked, performance-orientated management teams.
“These teams embrace the culture of Allwyn, which focuses on improving lotteries through innovating their portfolio, digitising customers, being efficient in how the lotteries are run, and working with talented individuals.”
However, 2023 sees Allwyn beginning its stewardship of the National Lottery at a point of change and conflict for UK Gambling, encompassing all forms of gambling.
“I understand the dynamics in the UK that have been questioned, particularly around the more intense gambling formats such as iGaming and sports betting. The UK is a heritage market, seen by many as the cradle of sports betting, being home to William Hill, Ladbrokes, and others…
“The Lottery under Allwyn’s management will stay clear of that. Our lotteries are for the many, playing little. It’s as simple as that. We don’t need the other type of business.”
Aware of anxieties surrounding gambling, Chvatal concluded: “I must add that the role of the UK within the group is such that the National Lottery will not be a huge bottom-line contributor.
“The money generated goes towards good causes, and we just take a management fee, which is different from other lotteries.”
Looking forward, the UK National Lottery is seen not just as a bottom-line contributor; it is a “great credentialiser” and a source of innovation and inspiration for the group, due to its scale, maturity, and potential influence on other markets.
Allwyn Group is committed to making the lottery a sustainable, responsible, and, above all, entertaining source for its vast customer base.