Allwyn Entertainment plans to bid for majority stake in Ireland Lottery
By Kate Northrop
Allwyn Entertainment, the new operator of the UK National Lottery, is planning to place a bid for a majority stake in the Irish National Lottery and expand its hold as Europe's largest lottery group.
Now the biggest lottery operator in Europe, Allwyn is setting its sights on the Ireland National Lottery and is expected to enter the race to buy a majority stake.
In March, Allwyn completed its acquisition of the Camelot Lottery Solutions group of companies, which was previously owned by Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) Board. In doing so, it became the new operator of the Illinois Lottery, which is operated under a private management agreement through its former operator company, Camelot Illinois LLC.
The Illinois Lottery is just one gaming asset that Allwyn gained through its acquisition of Camelot Lottery Solutions. After OTPP began the sale process for Premier Lotteries Ireland in February, Allwyn might be adding one more to its portfolio.
The Czech Republic-based company, according to insiders close to the process, was discussing the sale of the Lottery and its management team in March.
OTTP currently owns an 80% stake in Premier Lotteries Ireland. In 2014, it was granted a 20-year license to run the Ireland National Lottery in conjunction with An Post, the original operator of the Irish lottery since it began in 1987, using An Post's pension funds.
Together, OTTP and An Post paid €405 million (US$445.5 million) for the license, which expires in 2034.
Two people close to the sale told The Irish Times that Australian operator Lottery Corporation and semi-publicly French operator Franҫaise des Jeux (FDJ) may also be placing a bid. Two New York-based companies, International Game Technology (IGT) and Scientific Games might also consider bidding for OTPP's majority stake.
"Look at the lottery operators that have the money and that are looking for growth," an insider close to the sale told The Irish Times. "That's a list that is long enough to have a competitive process but it's also short enough to be very tailored with only super motivated buyers."
Allwyn is set to take over as the operator of the UK National Lottery in February 2024 after having purchased the license from OTPP for £120 million (US$149.7 million).
In a separate deal, the company completed the acquisition of Camelot Lottery Solutions for £200 million (US$249.5 million).
Considering its subsidiary Camelot Lottery Solutions runs the online draw for the Ireland Lottery, Allwyn might have a competitive advantage in the race. Otherwise, another operator might have to search for a new technology supplier.
The sale is anticipated to be completed in the summer.