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SAZKA brings in Sir Keith Mills for UK National Lottery licence bid

2nd November 2020 10:37 am GMT

European lottery operator SAZKA Group has brought in Sir Keith Mills to lead its bid to operate the UK National Lottery.

Sir Mills is a British entrepreneur who founded the Air Miles and Nectar customer loyalty programmes and played a pivotal role in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For the past six years he has chaired the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a role he hands over to Lord William Hague next month. He is also chairman of the Invictus Games, the international multi-sport event created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

“I am driven by organisations that make a real contribution to society,” said Sir Mills. “I chose to team up with SAZKA for the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition because I believe the UK National Lottery needs to grow and be engaging if it is to continue to fund the thousands of good causes every year.

“Our lottery is a national treasure with nearly 26 years of history; however, the landscape has changed immeasurably since it was first launched in 1994. The challenge now is to ensure the lottery connects with people right across the country, making it fresh and exciting as it once was, bringing new ways that are relevant for today and tomorrow’s generation. 

As bid chairman, Sir Keith will lead a team with significant experience which includes bidding for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

SAZKA has also appointed former London 2012 employee Alastair Ruxton as bid director, together with British experts in key areas such as player protection, good causes, innovation, digital, retail and customer experience.

“I feel passionately that it needs to be restored to the nation’s hearts, especially in these difficult times,” continued Sir Mills. “I teamed up with SAZKA because they have a proven record of taking established lotteries, growing them and evolving them to be relevant for the future.

“I am cognisant that much has to be done for us to make a winning case in this competition, but I believe that over the course of this process we will be able to demonstrate how SAZKA’s expertise coupled with the experienced British team that we are building in the UK will offer the right stewardship for the UKNL for 2023 and beyond.”

The competition for the fourth UK National Lottery licence is currently underway after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the successful bidder set to take over the operation of the lottery in 2023.

After submitting a Selection Questionnaire earlier this month, SAZKA has been accepted into the competition by the UK Gambling Commission, which is running the process.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Sir Keith Mills and have him lead our entry in the Fourth National Lottery Licence Competition,” said SAZKA Group CEO Robert Chvátal. “We are hugely excited to be participating in this competition and for the chance to take stewardship of the National Lottery, helping the UK to fall back in love with this vital institution.

“Operating in five different national markets (Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Greece and Cyprus) has given us an unprecedented level of insight and experience in running lotteries. In addition, we have consistently increased participation and revenues for the lotteries we operate. We want to bring this deep knowledge and customer insight to revitalise the UK National Lottery increasing sales and money raised for good causes, thereby providing a much-needed long-term boost to community, arts, sports and heritage institutions across the UK.”

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