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The National Lottery Changes Operator for First Time in 30 Years European Gaming Industry News

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1 February 2024 marked the start of the Fourth National Lottery Licence and the handover to Allwyn as the operator of The National Lottery.

This is the first time that responsibility for operating The National Lottery has changed hands in its 30-year history. During this time, it has made a huge difference to life in the UK – not just for the millions of prize-winners, but in generating over £48 billion that has been invested in almost 700,000 community, sport, arts and heritage projects. This has all been made possible by those who distribute and use National Lottery funds for amazing projects.

Allwyn will build on the success of the last three decades and is committed to investing significantly over the coming 10 years to reignite the magic that lies at the heart of The National Lottery. Allwyn will gradually introduce changes over the course of the next few years that will strengthen the bond between The National Lottery and consumers, with many more people playing a little, which will lead to more money raised for National Lottery-funded projects.

The National Lottery has already paid out over £92 billion in prize money and created over 7000 new millionaires or multi-millionaires since its launch in 1994, including more than a millionaire a day on average last year. Allwyn’s games strategy over the course of the licence aims to create even more new millionaires and prize winners.

The high street will continue to play an important role over the coming decade with over 40,000 retailers selling National Lottery products. Allwyn has plans to grow this retail presence even further, with stores standing to benefit from greater sales support, more investment in marketing, new points of sale and, over time, significant upgrades to their technology infrastructure underpinned by Vodafone’s mobile connectivity. Allwyn has already announced a 50% increase in the number of team members supporting retailers.

In addition to in-store changes, Allwyn is investing in a broader technology transformation programme to support the modernisation of The National Lottery, including the move to a new technology platform with Scientific Games. This technology modernisation will enable a richer and more relevant experience for individual players, while also using data to support healthy play, reflecting Allwyn’s commitment to ensure The National Lottery sets the benchmark in this area over the coming years.

The creation of social value is the bedrock of The National Lottery and will shape Allwyn’s custodianship. Allwyn is integrating ambitious environmental and social commitments into every part of how it will operate The National Lottery. Allwyn has started on a journey to create a net zero National Lottery, and ensuring it is inclusive and accessible. Allwyn will also directly invest a ring-fenced £1 million every year from its own profits into social value initiatives, in collaboration with its operational and business partners, to help deliver a positive legacy.

Justin King CBE, Chair of Allwyn UK, said: “We are thrilled to become the new operator of The National Lottery. It is a privilege and a responsibility that we take incredibly seriously. Over the next 10 years, our commitment is to increase returns to National Lottery-funded projects and build a legacy of change for good.”

Andria Vidler, CEO of Allwyn UK, said: “On Thursday we start the important process of doing more with The National Lottery for the benefit of future generations. It will be a journey that will take time – but one that has many incredible milestones along the way, offering us more opportunities to reflect on all the good that comes from it. This year is particularly significant, with the Olympic and Paralympic Games and The National Lottery’s 30th birthday. We want the birthday year, and the decade that follows, to be full of more unmissable and unforgettable moments for more people in more ways.”

The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP, UK Government Minister for Sport, Gambling and Civil Society, said: “People up and down the country have been playing The National Lottery for almost 30 years and it will continue to be one of the nation’s favourite pastimes.

“Allwyn’s new licence will see The National Lottery fund even more important initiatives through its commitment to raising millions more pounds for good causes.

“From mental health services and maintaining heritage and the arts, to supporting our Olympians and Paralympians, The National Lottery will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of millions.”

Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England and Chair of The National Lottery Distributor Forum, representing all 12 National Lottery good cause distributors across the UK, said: “The National Lottery makes a massive positive impact on people’s lives in villages, towns and cities across the UK, helping communities and organisations to thrive. We’re excited by Allwyn’s vision to grow The National Lottery and to increase the funds it generates for these important projects. National Lottery players make a real difference to the fabric of our society every day. And Allwyn’s plans for a modernised National Lottery will help fund so many good causes in the long term, supporting us as we make the magic of The National Lottery even greater than before.”

Katie Mahon, Artistic Director of Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company, said: “Without National Lottery Funding we wouldn’t be able to deliver the volume of support that we do to the local community who are really struggling in current times. To receive support from a funder that understands practical needs such as food parcels and housing alongside arts and cultural engagement is a rarity, and really sets National Lottery funding apart.”

Muntazir Dipoti, National President of The Fed, and an independent retailer, said: “In my capacity as National President of The Fed, I know many of our members have sold The National Lottery since it launched. They’ve been able to see first-hand the huge impact it has had on the UK over that time – through making big winners, of course, but also by funding local community projects and national events like the Olympics and Paralympics. And, in my role as an independent shop owner, having The National Lottery in my store is a no-brainer– many of our loyal customers buy their tickets from us week in, week out. So in addition to boosting my bottom line by selling tickets, it also gets more people through the door of my shop. I’ve had some great conversations with Allwyn over the last year and I know how seriously they’re taking their commitment to retailers, so I’m really excited to see what the next decade brings.”

Niji Narayan

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