All change at the National Lottery as Czech-based contender pips Camelot – but will VAR take a hand?

One of the UK’s biggest ad accounts is potentially in play as Czech operator Allwyn (formerly Sazka but handily renamed) has been chosen as the preferred bidder for the National Lottery, currently run by Camelot. Camelot’s contract expires in 2024. Adam&eveDDB is its current ad agency.

In its last published figures Camelot produced £8.3bn in sales and raised £1.9bn for charities, which suggests there’s some slack there, to put it mildly.

The UK Gambling commission says: “Our priority was to run a competition that would attract a strong field of candidates. Having received the most applications since 1994, it is clear that we’ve achieved just that.”

However in 2013 Sazka owner Karel Komarek signed a joint venture with Russian energy giant Gazprom to build and operate a gas storage terminal in Moravia.

The Gambling Commission says it was “satisfied that no application is impacted by sanctions related to the conflict in Ukraine.”

Lawyers for Camelot may take a different view.

Adam&eveDDB has certainly succeeded in bringing in revenue for Camelot. But a new owner generally means a new agency, in this case for a £60m account. But Allyn’s roots in Central Europe may mean the decision isn’t as cut and dried as the Gambling Commission hopes.

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