Lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman has said that the National Lottery must change in order for the UK to move forward as a country.
The entrepreneur wrote in City AM stating that the lottery’s current state could not support the government’s ambitions in a post-pandemic world.
Hoberman also pointed to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), arguing that it should do more to help the National Lottery to progress
“The switch to digital has increased competition”
Commenting on the current state of the National Lottery, Hoberman said:
“Huge ad campaigns cannot hide the fact that millions of people – 8.5 million, in fact – have stopped playing the lottery over the past decade.
“The switch to digital solutions and the increased competition from new gaming platforms have made the lottery look old-fashioned. Having spent a career leveraging new technologies to drive progress and solve problems, I am confident that there is potential for the National Lottery to embrace technological change and improve the ways we play.”
Hoberman’s National Lottery ambitions
Hoberman is best-known for co-founding the travel booking website lastminute.com in 1998. In January 2021, he joined the Sazka board.
Sazka, which is headquartered in the Czech Republic, is one of the companies in the running to obtain the next National Lottery licence. He will be an advisor on the board, alongside Justin King – the ex-CEO of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s – and Chair Seth Mills.
At the time, Hoberman mentioned again that digitising the National Lottery is essential for sustainable future growth.
“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.”
If Sazka were to receive the National Lottery licence, it would be the first time that a company other than Camelot has operated it.
Learn from abroad
As part of the National Lottery shake-up, Hoberman also appealed to the UKGC. He wants the country’s regulator to “support fresh perspectives” when it comes to moving the National Lottery forward.
The lastminute.com founder also wants the UKGC to either “learn from success stories from abroad”, or decide on “entirely new approaches to playing”.
Commenting further on the National Lottery, Hoberman said:
“Ultimately, the objectives for bidders are simple: relaunch the lottery, win back lost customers, and attract a new generation of players in a way that protects the vulnerable. But tinkering on the margins won’t do.
“It is time for bold thinking to be married with sound business plans and proven track records of success so the National Lottery can move confidently and seamlessly into a new era.”