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SAZKA Group has appointed former Syco Entertainment CEO Charles Garland to its advisory board. Garland will work closely with SAZKA UK bid chair Sir Keith Mills on the company’s bid for the next licence to operate the UK National Lottery.

Working alongside other members of the advisory board, which currently includes Brent Hoberman CBE and Justin King CBE, Garland will advise SAZKA’s team on how to widen The National Lottery’s appeal to consumers and bring back 8.5m lost players.

“The National Lottery was once a staple of British entertainment, but in the era of Netflix, podcasts and video games, it needs to adapt to changes in customer behaviour. The challenge facing this institution is to recapture that sense of excitement that the Saturday night draw once generated, bringing back those players who we believe turned away from the lottery in favour of new and more innovative entertainment platforms,” Garland said.

“But in order for this to happen, The National Lottery must have a digital-first operator with a track record of turning underperforming lotteries into cherished household brands. This is exactly what SAZKA Group do – together we are working on proposals that will make the British public fall back in love with this vital institution,” Garland added.

“Throughout his career, which has spanned music, sports and television, Charles has grasped the mood of the nation and kept people entertained. The National Lottery needs an operator who can better understand its players, increase participation by making the lottery fun and exciting again, and ultimately return more to good causes,” Sir Mills said.

“This is fundamental to our bid and Charles will be an invaluable member of the team as we strive to make it happen. I’m confident that with Charles on board, alongside other members of our expert advisory board, SAZKA Group will submit a winning bid,” Mills added.

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