February 1, 2021 3 min read


Sazka Group Appoints Charles Garland to National Lottery Bid Team

Entertainment guru Charles Garland will bring his expertise in order to help the National Lottery return its sense of excitement and win the 8.5 million lost players.

The National Lottery Needs a Digital-First Operator to Bring Back its Players

Charles Garland has joined Sazka Group’s advisory board in order to provide support to Sir Keith Mills as part of the company’s bid for the fourth National Lottery license.

In August, the UK Gambling Commission launched the competition to award the fourth National Lottery license, since the current license is due to expire in 2023. The fourth license will have a fixed ten-year term, and will focus on maximizing returns to good causes, will have an incentive mechanism and will require licensees to foster the relationship between the National Lottery brand, its players, and good causes.

Pan-European lottery and gaming giant Sazka was the first business to confirm its participation in the tender process. Sazka said Garland will bring his knowledge and skills to advise the bid team on how to make the National Lottery attractive to consumers again. Some 8.5 million players have lost interest in the lottery in recent years, according to Sazka.

Modern, Online Platforms Have Disrupted the Entertainment Industry

The former Global CEO of Syco Entertainment and COO of 19 Entertainment will work together with Mills and other members of the advisory board, which currently includes Brent Hoberman CBE and Justin King CBE. The appointment of Sir Keith Mills as Bid Chair of Sazka’s UK team competing for the Fourth National Lottery License was announced in November. Charles Garland said:

 “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.”

Garland said the most difficult part will be bringing back the excitement that the lottery draws once generated and recapturing those players who have been attracted by new and more innovative entertainment platforms. For this purpose, the National Lottery needs a digital-first operator that will bring the institution back in the game, Garland added.

Garland boasts solid expertise in the UK entertainment industry starting his career at BBH Advertising as group development director and then taking over as chief operating officer of 19 Entertainment. Garland has worked closely with founder Simon Fuller to bring Pop Idol and American Idol to over 40 countries.

In 2010 he assumed the position of global CEO of Simon Cowell and Sony Music’s joint venture, SyCo Entertainment. Charles helped the company syndicate the X-Factor and Got Talent, shows which have been sold around the world, while establishing One Direction as the world’s biggest boyband.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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