Supermarket guru Justin King joins National Lottery bid group Sazka



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ORMER Sainsbury boss Justin King is joining a bid by Czech group Sazka to win the franchise to run the National Lottery, putting more pressure on incumbent Camelot.

In November, Sazka unveiled Air Miles inventor Sir Keith Mills as bid chairman. Today King joins the advisory board that will advise Sir Keith and others on how to land the bid.

The Gambling Commission will decide in October who will run the lottery for the next ten years from 2023. Camelot has held the franchise since 1994.

King joined Sainsbury’s in 2004 when it was seen to be losing its place in the supermarket sector. He led a turnaround and developed a partnership with Comic Relief which raised many millions for the charity.

He said: “Getting people back to their local high street post Covid-19 requires fresh thinking, an innovative approach, and recognition that the National Lottery can play an integral role in that recovery. I’m teaming up with SAZKA Group to make the National Lottery better.”

In a swipe at Camelot, he said: “We need to revitalise this precious institution by bringing back those customers that have stopped playing, while making it relevant and exciting for new audiences too. A vibrant and growing lottery is the only way to guarantee more funding for good causes, which is crucial for helping Britain to build back better”.  

Sir Keith Mills said: “Justin King is one of the UK’s leading experts in the retail sector. He has a track record of turning around businesses, which will only strengthen our efforts to make the British public fall back in love with the National Lottery.”

Sir Keith, 70, led London’s successful campaign to host the 2012 Olympics and will take a minority stake in Sazka’s UK business if it succeeds in its tilt at the lottery.Camelot is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.