The future of the UK National Lottery remains uncertain but Allwyn appears confident that it will emerge victorious from the bidding process, as CEO Robert Chvatal outlined the firm’s ambitions to The Times.
Allwyn was named as the preferred candidate for the fourth UK National Lottery licence in March, fending off stern competition from a number of rival bidders including the current incumbent, Camelot.
However, that decision sparked a fierce response from Camelot, who challenged both the decision on the fourth licence and the UK Gambling Commission’s procurement process.
The gradual transfer of the lottery operation to Allwyn has been ‘suspended’ while the legal process ensures, with the next hearing taking place on September 13 and 14.
Chvatal is “hopeful” that UK rule of law and good old common sense will work in Allwyn’s favour and warns that a “war of attrition” with Camelot or any “filibustering” on its part would only hurt good causes.
“It’s a bit too much,” said Chvatal. “There’s not much time to waste [with the transition].
“The biggest victim could be the lottery itself.”
There has also been scepticism towards Allwyn amid alleged links to Russia, stemming from Allwyn’s Owner, Karel Komarek, and energy supplier Gazprom.
Allwyn, though, remains adamant that its intentions for the UK National Lottery are pure.
“In our bid, we tried to bring the best of Europe to the UK with a competent British team,” said Chvatal.
“I can only say that elsewhere we are in the business of making lotteries better and running contemporary lotteries from A to Z, like the scope of licence in the UK.”
Chvatal elaborated further on the Czech-based firm’s plans, affirming that, in principle, modernisation can be achieved through the right combination of brand, games and “the best technology”.
He said: “Players never need to miss a small win. It should look and feel modern and slick rather than dated and tired, both in retail and online. This is what we do…in many markets.
“We believe that no monopoly in the world can guarantee you relevance to the consumer.
“People will be judging us on how we re-energise and reinvigorate the lottery here.”
Allwyn will seek to win back the millions of customers the UK National Lottery has lost since the peak of its popularity, and is set to refresh its portfolio of games.
Chvatal claims Allwyn can give scratchcards a makeover, removing its association with gambling addiction; he believes the game has been “demonised” in the UK.
But Chvatal insists this is not the case in other countries, and he believes marketing can make all the difference.
At Christmas, Czech scratchcards resemble seasonal cards and are seen as gifts that allow people to “dream a little”.
Meanwhile, Chvatal also declared Allwyn “ready” as the company prepares for a $9.3bn listing on the New York Stock Exchange ahead of potential expansion in the US.
Last month, it was announced that PPF Group had agreed to purchase 26 million Allwyn shares, and the stock exchange listing will take the form of a merger with a special acquisition company (Spac), Cohn Robbins Holdings.
“It is the currency for international rollout,” Chvatal said of the Spac.