Sazka hires former supermarket boss for National Lottery bid

King will advise Sazka on plans to revitalise the National Lottery.
King will advise Sazka on plans to revitalise the National Lottery.

Justin King, former chief executive of Sainsbury’s, has been appointed to the gaming operator’s advisory board.

UK.- Sazka Group has appointed Justin King, the former chief executive of the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, to a new advisory board as it prepares its bid for the UK’s National Lottery licence.

The Czech gaming giant has named King as the first member of the board that will advise the former London Olympic chairman Sir Keith Mills, who was selected to lead Sazka’s bid for the lottery licence in November.

King will work with Mills on developing a proposed retail strategy to revitalise the lottery. The strategy will include a vision of how the National Lottery could contribute to the revitalisation of the British high street and local retail following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “We need to revitalise this precious institution by bringing back those customers that have stopped playing, while making it relevant and exciting for new audiences too.

“A vibrant and growing lottery is the only way to guarantee more funding for good causes, which is crucial for helping Britain to build back better.”

King will also advise on issues related to the transition of the National Lottery and will lead the transition team if Sazka wins what will be the fourth licence period for the lottery since its inception.

Before joining Sainsbury’s as chief executive in 2004, King had stints at the major retail chains Asda and Marks & Spencer. At Sainsbury’s, King oversaw 36 consecutive quarters of sales growth and profit.

Sazka intends to make further appointments to the advisory board including experts on charities, player protection, digital and innovation and entertainment.

Bid leader Sir Keith Mills said: “Justin’s experience will also be of huge benefit for our transition plans which must be submitted to the Gambling Commission as part of our bid.

“Over the next few weeks, I look forward to welcoming more experts to our team, who will help us to share our vision for the National Lottery as the Fourth Licence Competition progresses.”

Sazka is competing in the tender for the fourth National Lottery licence against the incumbent operator Camelot and India’s Sugal & Damani.

The Gambling Commission is expected to announce its preferred bidder this year. The licence will begin in 2023.

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