David Craven is set to take the reins at Allwyn, the UK brand of European lottery provider Sazka Group, ahead of the National Lottery bidding contest.
Craven’s experience at digitising gambling-related businesses was a key factor behind his success as a candidate, having previously served as Managing Director of The Tote and CEO of World Gaming, as well as being co-founder of digital media firm UPC/Chello.
Allwyn Bid Chair, Sir Keith Miles – the Air Miles and Nectar founder and organiser of the 2012 London Olympic Games bid – remarked that Craven’s ‘phenomenal track record in software, broadband and gaming gives him an excellent understanding of this’, referring to Allwyn’s digital approach to lottery management.
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 appointment comes as Czech Republic-based Sazka prepares for the fourth bidding contest for the operating rights to the UK’s National National lottery via its Allwyn unit, having received the backing of telecommunications giant Vodafone.
In order to bolster its bid, Allwyn has made a range of additions to its management team. As well as Miles, the firm has also appointed Dr Mark Griffiths, Twitter UK Managing Director Dara Nasr, Amanda Horton-Mastin, Justin King CBE, Brent Hoberman CBE and Charles Garland to its advisory board.
“National Lotteries are needed now more than ever,” Craven commented. “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.”
Coordinated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and DCMS, the Fourth National Lottery licencing competition has seen a focus placed over the leveraging of key partnerships to re-engage the lottery to consumers on a mass-market basis whilst raising funds for good causes.
Allwyn’s primary competitors in the contest include Italy’s Sisal – which partnered with Vodafone’s rival BT – India’s Sugal & Daman and current operator Camelot, which has held the licence to the National Lottery for 30 years.