National Lottery contest set to narrow as Sugal & Damani reportedly withdraws

Sugal & Damani, the Indian lottery operator which has been participating in the fourth UK National Lottery licence competition, will reportedly withdraw from the bidding contest, according to The Telegraph.

If the firm does withdraw its bid, four participants will remain in the competition – incumbent operator Camelot, former adult magazine publisher Richard Desmond, Italy’s Sisal and Allwyn, the UK corporate identity of Czech international lottery provider Sazka Group.

The contest for the 10-year licence is currently being overseen by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which will announce the new operator in September this year, and is also due to give feedback to the competing companies concerning extensive proposals submitted in April.

A number of new appointments have been made and partnerships have been formed by each prospective operator, with Sisal bidding in cooperation with children’s charity Bernados, whilst the Italian operator and Allwyn have also partnered with BT and Vodafone respectively.

Meanwhile, Allwyn recently appointed former The Tote CEO David Craven to lead its bid, joining Chair Sir Keith Miles. Sitting alongside the pair on the firm’s advisory board are Dr Mark Griffiths, Twitter UK Managing Director Dara Nasr, Amanda Horton-Mastin, Justin King CBE, Brent Hoberman CBE and Charles Garland.

The alleged withdrawal of Sugal & Damani follow the reports last week that Karel Komarek, owner of the KKCB Group, is interested in launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for Sazka Group, with London identified as a potential listing destination.

KKCG, the holding group behind Sazka, is working on an IPO of the firm with its advisers, and the listing could occur in the second half of 2021, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, Camelot revealed that its National Lottery sales exceeded £8 billion for the first time during 2020/21, resulting in the highest recorded returns towards good causes from sales revenue alone.

Total sales of £8.37 billion were recorded for the financial year lasting from April 2020 to March 2021 – a £468 million increase on the previous year’s results, with £1.88 billion generated to good causes.

£1.2 billion has so far been awarded by the National Lottery Distributors to help people and projects across the UK respond to the impact of COVID-19 and over £1 billion was also paid to government in Lottery Duty over the course of the year.

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