Camelot strengthens board ahead of 2023 licence fight

Camelot strengthens board ahead of 2023 licence fight

Thursday, June 28, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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The Group has appointed Sir Hugh Robertson and Robert Walker

Camelot has pressed ahead with plans thrown up by last year’s strategic review by appointing a new Chairman in Sir Hugh Robertson, the man credited with delivering the best ever funding package for Olympic sport through to Rio 2016 and beyond.

Robertson is currently Chair of the British Olympic Association (BOA), having previously served as Olympics Minister during London 2012, before becoming the Minister of State at the Foreign Office responsible for the Middle East, North Africa and Counter Terrorism.

His appointment is seen as a key strategic move for Camelot, as the Group prepares for a fresh fight to retain its National Lottery licence in 2023.

However, Robertson isn’t the only notable newcomer for Camelot, who also announced the appointment of Robert Walker as Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director.

Walker is currently Chairman of Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns), the largest portfolio manager of pubs in the UK, and has an extensive track record of chair positions at large public companies including Travis Perkins, WHSmith, BCA Europe and Williams Lea.

Both appointments are a product of the 2017 review, which found the need for the operator to make improvements in key four areas: improving the range of games, investing in retail initiatives, upgrading the company’s digital capabilities, and reinvigorating the brand.

Just a few weeks ago, Camelot announced National Lottery ticket sales of £6,951.7 million for the 2017/18 financial year (1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018) - an increase of £26.4 million.

This is an indication that initiatives implemented by CEO Nigel Railton yielded positive results during the final few months of the financial year, as sales for the six months from 1 April to 23 September 2017 amounted to £3,280.4 million, a decrease of 3.2% on the corresponding period in 2016.

Across the full-year, Camelot was also able to reverse the decline in its contribution to Good Causes (down 4.7% during the first six months), by generating a total of £1,655.3 million (excluding investment returns), £27.3 million more than in 2016/17.

The sales increase was in part due to record digital sales of £1,652.2 million, which included the best-ever performance by The National Lottery’s range of online Instant Win Games.

Mobile sales also grew to an all-time high of £700.6 million, with sales through smartphones and tablets now accounting for well over 40% of all digital sales.

Meanwhile, Camelot launched a new game EuroMillions HotPicks and added an extra draw day to its £1 Thunderball game in January, both of which exceeded expectations.

In addition, EuroMillions had a strong 12 months, with the game benefiting from an unexpectedly high number of £100 million+ jackpots, as well as a number of special draws offering multiple £1 million prizes – both of which are proven drivers of player excitement.

Railton commented: “Given that we had anticipated a further sales decline this year, our achievement in getting The National Lottery back into growth and delivering more money for Good Causes underlines the importance of the work we have been carrying out following the strategic review.

“It’s fair to say that sales benefited from a nice run of luck – particularly on EuroMillions with some incredible jackpots – but the strong foundations and new initiatives that we are putting in place have also started to play a part.”

Totally Gaming says: Railton acknowledged that a “run of luck” contributed to the  revival, but it’s fair to say that an increased range of games and a clearer focus on digital development is also starting to reap rewards. It’s now over to Robertson to try and replicate his Olympic successes in the lottery sector. There are other headwinds on the horizon though. The DCMS has pledged to review the age limit for playing National Lottery games (currently 16) as part of the next licence competition.

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