Allwyn, the UK division of Pan-European lottery and gaming giant Sazka Group, has named industry veteran David Craven as its new chief executive.
In his new role, Craven will support Allwyn’s bid for the fourth National Lottery licence in Great Britain, working alongside bid chair Sir Keith Mills.
Craven joins Allwyn having previously spent six years as managing director of UK gambling group The Tote, while he also had a spell as chief executive of gaming software business World Gaming.
Earlier in his career, Craven also co-founded digital media business UPC/Chello and will bring a significant amount of broadband and digital content services experience to Allwyn.
“National Lotteries are needed now more than ever,” Craven said. “In Sazka Group’s other markets, they have driven footfall on the high street whilst making a real difference in local communities. That’s why the opportunity to become the CEO of Allwyn, and hopefully he National Lottery, was impossible to turn down.
“Throughout my career in the global gaming sector, I’ve always focused on how technology can be used to improve the customer experience, whether that be in-store or online. Not only does this mean making games fun and exciting, but I passionately believe that technology is the best way to safeguard customers.”
Mills added: “Any business that wants to grow its customer base must be able to demonstrate a credible plan to invest in and deploy the latest technology. David’s phenomenal track record in software, broadband and gaming gives him an excellent understanding of this, which will only provide yet another huge boost to our application to run The National Lottery”.
Craven’s appointment comes on the back of a number of high profile recent appointments to Allwyn’s advisory board to support the licence bid.
Aside from Mills, Allwyn last month added psychologist and Professor of Behavioural Addiction Dr Mark Griffiths to its advisory board, alongside technology entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, former global chief executive of Syco Entertainment Charles Garland, and the managing director of Twitter UK, Dara Nasr.
Sazka set out its intention to bid for the National Lottery licence in October last year and faces competition from Italian lottery operator Sisal and India’s Sugal & Damani. Incumbent Camelot also completed the Gambling Commission’s Selection Questionnaire, but has not yet announced if it is bidding for the tender.
As part of this process, Sazka in April announced it was to bring together its UK operations under the new ‘Allwyn’ corporate identity.