Allwyn UK’s Director of Social Value, Harriet Jameson, speaks exclusively to Lottery Daily about the company’s social value program and how it helps to drive innovation and bring positivity to the National Lottery.
LD: Can you explain what Allwyn’s social value programme is and why Allwyn decided to implement it?
HJ: At Allwyn, creating social value is at the heart of who we are and what we do. Our social value framework is all about the overarching ambition to power good. The programme brings together three priorities: empowering people, supporting prosperous places, and protecting the planet.
In Allwyn, the National Lottery has an operator that has a social value at its heart. Allwyn will give more funding to Good Causes, while running our own business in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
A budget has already been ringfenced for social value projects. The social value will be embedded in culture, behaviour, and operations as well as across a wide range of commitments and initiatives.
LD: Why do you think it is so important to have diversity in a company and how does this help to drive innovation?
HJ: To unlock innovation, you must create an environment where ideas “outside the box” are heard and promoted. Lottery operators who fail to challenge the status quo will always struggle to deliver the best experience to their customers and the greatest value for the communities they operate in.
At Allwyn, we want to capture all the benefits of a diverse team. The senior leadership team that put together our application for the Fourth National Lottery Licence is made up of more than 50% women. And we are aiming for more. We want to create one of the most inclusive organisations in the UK – with diversity in race and ethnicity, education, abilities, gender identity and sexual orientation, and neurodiversity.
We are convinced that our diverse internal experiences and a strong network of partners help the business to identify opportunities, explore new solutions, and finally allow us to always be ahead when it comes to technological innovation and game design. We embody innovation through diversity.
We are constantly challenging the old way of doing things which allows us to optimise gaming experiences for our customers, seamlessly connecting traditional retail with cutting-edge digital channels.
LD: How important is it to have voices from different perspectives when making key business decisions?
HJ: At Allwyn, we believe The National Lottery must serve everyone, not just the people who play. Hence, it is imperative for us to understand stakeholder interests beyond our customers to make well-founded business decisions. To guarantee that we live up to the expectations of all interest groups, encouraging multiple perspectives across the entire workforce, including the C-level, is substantial.
Our diverse, fresh thinking team and our experiences from other lotteries in our European markets enabled us to put a competition-winning proposal that was independently judged by the Gambling Commission to be the best plan to take the National Lottery forward.
2024 will be the first time in history that the operator of the National Lottery changes, so it very much marks a fresh start. This wouldn’t have been possible without the diversity of ideas put forward by our unique team.
LD: Having a high proportion of female staff working on the Fourth National Lottery Licence bid demonstrates the importance of equality to Allwyn. What does your social value strategy mean in terms of giving more opportunities to women in business?
HJ: Empowering our teams but also our supply chain partners is a central pillar of our social value strategy. It’s no coincidence that some of the most important areas of our application to operate the National Lottery for the Fourth Licence including Player Protection, Product Portfolio, and Good Causes were all led by women – constituting great role models for women in business.
We want to be seen as the benchmark for the wider industry, committed to giving equal opportunities to all employees, and promoting their skills and competencies. Our experience in winning the Fourth National Lottery Competition has shown that having a diverse team makes a real difference.
LD: Given the role of lotteries to help good causes, how important is it not only to deliver change in terms of products and technology but also change in terms of people and the voices who deliver that change, especially with Gen Z/Millennial consumers becoming increasingly aware of the social values of businesses?
HJ: Indeed, our products and technology in operations are crucial to driving sales and retailer commission. But also, in funding good causes and delivering positive change across and beyond the lottery sector. The expectations of our younger team members have been invaluable in embedding positive change into the company by living, thinking, and breathing social value in the way we run our business.
Driven by Gen Z colleagues and held up by the entire workforce, Allwyn cultivates a positive company culture by uplifting inclusivity, empathy and sustainability for our people, communities, and the planet.
Since we started, Allwyn has overseen significant returns to national and local governments across our European markets. We’ve increased lottery returns by 15% since 2015 – that is equivalent to over €2bn in government funds. These returns as well as taxation and lottery duties have helped fund a wide range of social projects. Being able to give back to communities has been a major factor in us taking over struggling lotteries. It sits at the heart of our operations.
LD: What does the future look like for Allwyn’s social value plans?
HJ: Our social value strategy is an ongoing journey and is a critical part of ensuring we can achieve our mission statement “to be a trusted and proactive guardian of all that is good in lotteries”.
While our social value activities tend to be local, our strategy is holistic and ensures that we operate globally as an ethical and sustainable company against the filters of the environment, society and governance. Driven by our four social value pillars – player safety, partnering for impact, empowering people, and respecting the planet – we will embed social value in all parts of and beyond the business.
We will continue to donate to a wide range of local projects in the communities we operate in (€34.2m of direct investment in 2021) and help our employees get involved in these to make a positive impact on the ground. We will further invest in activities that protect vulnerable groups and educate our staff and the general public on player safety. We aim to enhance the inclusivity of our workplace, by introducing diversity and inclusion workshops, offering volunteering days, and funding employee training.
Finally, we will create a lasting impact by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, promoting sustainable supply chains and reducing our resource consumption. In 2021, we set a target to reach Net Zero by 2030 for our UK operations and we are keen to do more at the group level as well.
From our leadership to our 5,000+ employees, these themes are embraced uniformly everywhere. At Allwyn we believe The National Lottery must be there for everyone, not just those who play. Our social value strategy helps us ensure it does.