Lottery

Sazka appoints Lastminute.com founder Hoberman to help National Lottery bid

3 minutes read
Czech gaming giant Sazka Group has announced that technology entrepreneur and founder of Lastminute.com Brent Hoberman has joined an advisory board supporting the its bid for the fourth National Lottery licence.

Hoberman joins a board supporting bid chair Sir Keith Mills, who was selected to lead the bid on Sazka’s behalf in November.

Hoberman will advise primarily on the integration and management of technology and digital innovation within Sazka’s plans for The National Lottery.

Sazka added that its team plans to draw on Hoberman’s experience in tech innovation in order to improve customer experience and player safeguarding, better support distributors and the Gambling Commission, and to strengthen work in funding good causes.

In 1998, Hoberman founded online travel retailer Lastminute.com, which was then sold to technology company Sabre in 2005 for $1.1bn.

He went on to set up and still serves as the executive chairman of Founders Factory and Founders Forum, which partner with founders and corporates worldwide to build, fund and scale start-up businesses.

Sazka’s National Lottery bid advisory board, which last week added former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King as its retail advisor, will comprise experts from a range of fields including good causes, player protection and entertainment.

Commenting on his appointment, Hoberman said: “Britain needs a National Lottery that is digital-first, technologically-sound, and accessible and relevant to disparate audiences who are accustomed to consuming their media and entertainment across many different channels.”

“I see so much untapped potential, and by teaming up with Sazka Group, a global leader in lottery technology, I’m confident we can build a world class National Lottery that sets the standard for the way all other lotteries around the world operate in the 21st century.”

Mills added that Hoberman’s experience across a range of sectors was a major reason why he was brought onto the team.

“Brent Hoberman has a remarkable record of building innovative technology for the betterment of a number of sectors,” Mills said. “His expertise and entrepreneurial mindset will help us in our efforts to overhaul The National Lottery’s approach to digital innovation, ensuring that this institution is future proofed so it can quickly integrate new technologies.“

“With Brent on board, Sazka Group will be a proactive operator that embraces technology to improve the digital experience, while always safeguarding players”.

Sazka was the first company to confirm it would be competing for the National Lottery licence, after completing its response to the Gambling Commission’s Selection Questionnaire in October. The winning bidder will be handed a fixed ten-year term to operate the lottery, starting when Camelot’s current extension expires in July 2023.

So far, Indian lottery operator and technology provider Sugal & Damani has also confirmed that it will participate in the bidding process. Camelot, meanwhile, has completed the Gambling Commission’s Selection Questionnaire, but has not yet said whether it will bid.

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