Thursday 14 January 2021 12:01 am

Sazka taps former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King for National Lottery bid

European lottery group Sazka has tapped former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King to advise on its bid for the UK National Lottery licence.

King, a veteran retail executive who also serves as vice chairman of private equity firm Terra Firma, is the first appointment to a new advisory board working on Sazka’s tender.

Read more: Sazka backs move to increase age to play UK lottery, in battle with Camelot to run gambling

He will work closely with bid chair Sir Keith Mills on retail strategy, looking at how the National Lottery could play a role in revitalising the high street after the pandemic.

Sazka, which is Europe’s largest lottery owner, last year launched a surprise challenge to take the licence from current operator Camelot for the first time since the prize draw began in 1994.

It previously appointed Mills, who led the London 2012 campaign and served as deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee, to lead its bid.

His advisory board is also set to include experts from a range of sectors including good causes, gambling safety organisations and entertainment.

Prior to his decade at the helm of Sainsbury’s, King also held top jobs at Asda and Marks & Spencer.

Read more: Sazka taps Olympics chief Keith Mills to lead National Lottery bid

“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,” King said in a statement.

“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”.