Former Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King believes Sazka Group could help to revive the UK’s high streets if it wins the bid for the Fourth National Lottery Licence.
King, who stepped down from his role at Sainsbury’s in 2014, was appointed to the Czech firm’s advisory board for its bid for the UK National Lottery last month.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, King stated that Sazka aims to add its ‘technological savvy’ to the lottery’s online offer and drive more players to independent stores.
He said: “If you look at the lottery as it stands, one of the trends that is not good is that its growth has been achieved largely by fewer players playing much more often.
“The lottery was billed as one of the saving graces of the independent corner shop – it would be a footfall driver, a reason for regular visits, which perhaps those corner shops have lost.”
The UK Gambling Commission will decide later this year who to award the Fourth National Lottery Licence to, with the contenders believed to be current licence holders Camelot, Sazka, and Indian firm Sugal & Damani.
King is part of Sazka’s advisory board that will provide counsel to bid chair Sir Keith Mills and the wider team as part of the company’s bid for the Fourth National Lottery Licence.
The bid advisory board includes experts from a range of fields, including good causes, player protection, digital and innovation, and entertainment. Recent additions to the board include tech entrepreneur Brent Hoberman and former Global CEO of Syco Entertainment Charles Garland.
King will work closely with Mills and the Sazka team on retail strategy and how the lottery can play an integral role in the revitalisation of the high street and local retail post-COVID-19.
The team will draw on his expertise to improve the customer experience, support independent retailers and expand the lottery’s product and marketing portfolio.
If the group is awarded the licence, it would mark the first change in operator since the lottery’s 1994 inception.