Drag lottery into digital age, says Camelot rival

Kieth Mills

The National Lottery needs to be “dragged into the digital age,” according to the Chairman of a company bidding to take over from current operator Camelot when its term ends in 2023.

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Sir Keith Mills of Czech company Sazka, also claimed the money raised for good causes has plateaued and said he worried that “unless the National Lottery is reinvigorated it will go into a decline”.

Camelot, which has run the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, has disputed this, noting that it runs Europe’s largest online lottery by revenue. Since a restructuring in 2014 it has increased contributions to good causes by 14%.

Mills is credited with inventing the Air Miles and Nectar Card loyalty schemes. He also headed up London’s successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Responding to his comments, NFRN National President Stuart Reddish said: “Taking the Lottery online makes no sense at a time when the British public have been rediscovering the benefits of shopping at their local convenience stores.”

Reddish slammed the proposals as a “major kick in the teeth” for community retailers who had made the Lottery a success.

He said: “From Sir Keith’s comments, it sadly appears that Sazka sees the National Lottery as global gambling money spinner, supported by big business and investment companies and distant from the players, retailers and communities that it is supposed to support.”

Welcoming a dialogue with any prospective Lottery operator, Reddish said: “We represent a large number of outlets, so anyone bidding for the new licence will need to work with us.”