Italian lottery operator Sisal has announced a surprise bid to run the UK National Lottery with backing from investment firm CVC Capital Partners, according to The Telegraph.
Sisal joins current National Lottery operators Camelot, Czech Republic’s Sazka, and India’s Sugal & Damani in the Fourth National Lottery licence competition, which is being run by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
The Telegraph also reported that the bid will be made in conjunction with charity Barnardo’s, who will provide expertise in raising money for good causes in the United Kingdom.
Sisal CEO Francesco Durante told The Telegraph that winning the UK draw was a ‘big aspiration’, noting Barnardo’s importance in its National Lottery bid as well, as he said: “To run the National Lottery, knowledge of the UK market is paramount.”
Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan added: “Our involvement will strengthen the partnership’s focus on player protection and responsible play, whilst deepening understanding of the UK charity sector and how it works to make a difference in the heart of local communities.”
The Fourth National Lottery licence competition was launched by the UKGC back in August 2020, and a preferred applicant is expected to be announced in September later this year. The licence will run for ten years once the third licence expires in 2023.
Current lottery operators Camelot sent out a clear signal to rival bidders and the UKGC last month that it is still pursuing growth, as it sealed a deal with supermarket chain Aldi to bring National Lottery games to all of its 900 stores across the UK.
However, the operator has also come under scrutiny from MPs for taking out advertisements in The House Magazine, available to only MPs and Westminster staff, where it attempted to ‘conflate its role’ as an operator with the National Lottery when it comes to good causes.
Sisal isn’t the only serious opposition Camelot must fend off in the Fourth National Lottery licence competition, as Sazka is in contention after hiring Sir Keith Mills as its bid chair, as well as several others to form an advisory board with experience in a variety of sectors including good causes, player protection, digital and innovation, and entertainment.