Allwyn secures industry heavyweight David Craven as CEO further strengthening its credentials to operate the National Lottery

David Craven, industry veteran, has been appointed by Allwyn as its CEO, joining Sir Keith Mills and the company at a pivotal juncture, with its application for the Fourth National Lottery Licence nearing culmination.

LONDON – David Craven, industry veteran, has been appointed by Allwyn as its CEO, joining Sir Keith Mills and the company at a pivotal juncture, with its application for the Fourth National Lottery Licence nearing culmination.


During a distinguished career working in the global gaming sector, Mr. Craven has been credited with both building and turning around many struggling businesses by driving digital-first innovation. During his six-year tenure as Managing Director of The Tote, a UK gaming group, he successfully led the company in its transition from a statutory state monopoly into a thriving private enterprise. In earlier roles as the CEO of gaming software businesses, Mr. Craven placed himself at the forefront of digital innovation in the sector.


As a co-founder of digital media giant UPC/Chello, Mr. Craven was a pioneer of broadband and digital content services, creating successful mass-market gaming products and services for a Pan-European market. Mr. Craven also brings wide-ranging Board and C level experience to the role with a particular emphasis on operating successfully in highly regulated markets.


Working closely with cutting edge technology partners, SAZKA Group, Allwyn’s parent company, has invested in digital platforms to grow and scale at pace across Europe. By recognising trends towards online play early, SAZKA Group’s lotteries adapted their product offerings long before the pandemic disrupted the retail sector. Across the Group, online sales of draw based games increased by 134% between 2015 and 2019, with sales continuing to grow during the pandemic and maintaining momentum as restrictions eased. This includes Austria, where a 42% rise in online draw-based sales coincided with a 9% increase in funding for good causes between 2015 and 2019, while Sazka Czech’s ‘Digital Entertainment Hub’ boosted lottery sales via mobile phone by 820% during the same period.  


Mr. Craven’s appointment as CEO comes on the back of a number of high profile recent appointments to  Allwyn’s advisory board. These appointments include Sir Keith Mills, Justin King, Brent Hoberman, Dr. Mark Griffiths, Amanda Horton-Mastin and Dara Nasr, among others.


Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Craven said: “National Lotteries are needed now more than ever. In SAZKA Group’s other markets, they have driven footfall on the high street whilst making a real difference in local communities. That’s why the opportunity to become the CEO of Allwyn, and hopefully The National Lottery, was impossible to turn down. Throughout my career in the global gaming sector, I’ve always focused on how technology can be used to improve the customer experience, whether that be in-store or online. Not only does this mean making games fun and exciting, but I passionately believe that technology is the best way to safeguard customers. I am very much looking forward to working closely with Allwyn’s chairman, Sir Keith Mills, and with innovative technology partners like Vodafone, we can deliver a bright new future for The National Lottery.”

Allwyn’s U.K. Application Chair Sir Keith Mills added: “For many years, Allwyn’s parent company SAZKA Group have pursued a digital-first approach to lotteries across Europe. Not only has this produced impressive online sales growth, but it has also translated to consistently strong sales growth in the retail sector too. Any business that wants to grow its customer base must be able to demonstrate a credible plan to invest in and deploy the latest technology. David’s phenomenal track record in software, broadband and gaming gives him an excellent understanding of this, which will only provide yet another huge boost to our application to run The National Lottery”.


About Allwyn


Allwyn is the UK trading name of SAZKA Group, Europe’s leading lottery operator. Allwyn is applying to replace Camelot as National Lottery operator, under the 4th National Lottery licence competition currently being run by the Gambling Commission.  Allwyn embraces the power of digital. It takes the standpoint that lotteries should be the benchmark for best practice in terms of creating games that entertain and protect, and which also drive considerable social value.


Allwyn has signed a number of game changing partnerships with British blue chip companies including Vodafone and has an unrivalled advisory board comprising of a number of high profile entrepreneurs, academics and business people. This advisory Board includes Sir Keith Mills, Justin King, Brent Hoberman, Dr Mark Griffiths, Amanda Horton-Mastin and Dara Nasr, among others.


About SAZKA Group


SAZKA Group is a national lottery, instant lottery and digital gaming operator, with trusted brands and industry-leading technology delivering over €17bn in annual sales. Established in 2012, SAZKA Group is already one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing lottery companies and our strong performance across our markets is helping to fund good causes in the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Austria, and Italy. 


Since entering the lottery market in 2012, SAZKA Group has quickly expanded from the Czech Republic into four other European markets. SAZKA Group has consistently taken on established lotteries and made them better, while also expanding into new market segments through market-leading technology platforms. The Group’s unique experience of operating in different jurisdictions enables it to adopt a tailored approach to customer experience in each market, helping to increase sales and returns to good causes.


Responsible gaming and funding good causes are at the heart of SAZKA Group’s business and culture. It promotes responsible gaming in all of its markets and is committed to having a positive impact where it operates. From building children’s hospitals in Greece to support for the Czech Olympic Foundation, SAZKA Group has put its business skills to the benefit of the local community. 

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