Allwyn has announced the appointment of Mark Hughes as its new chief security officer ahead of the group taking control of the UK National Lottery in six weeks.

In his new role, Hughes will lead all security functions across the National Lottery. Allwyn is due to take over as head of the National Lottery on February 1, 2024.

Hughes, who will also join the Allwyn leadership team, joins from Smart DCC. He has been working as Chief Information Security Officer since September 2022.

Hughes previously worked at Vodafone for 16 years, most of that time as Chief Information Security Officer in the UK. He has also held security-related positions at Borders and House of Fraser.

“I’m delighted to be joining Allwyn and being part of the next chapter in the National Lottery journey,” said Hughes. “Working for an organization that literally makes dreams come true and supports good causes is a great privilege and I can’t wait to get started.”

Hughes added LinkedIn: “I couldn’t be more proud and excited to join an organization that changes lives in so many amazing ways.”

Andria Vidler, CEO of Allwyn UK, added: “I am delighted to welcome Mark to our team. Maintaining the security of the National Lottery at all times is vital as we implement our ambitious plans to transform the National Lottery to make it more modern, digital and engaging for players.”

Allwyn is preparing to take on the duties of the UK National Lottery

Hughes joins Allwyn just six weeks before the company takes control of the UK National Lottery.

Allwyn beat off competition from several rival bidders to secure its fourth National Lottery license. The tender process also included The New Lottery Company – owned by health lottery operator Northern and Shell – and Italian company Sisal, as well as incumbent operator Camelot.

Camelot’s previous license was originally scheduled to expire in August 2023, but was postponed by six months. Camelot has controlled the National Lottery since its inception in 1994.

The Gambling Commission’s decision to select Allwyn was met with criticism from Camelot and IGT, Camelot’s technology provider. Both companies ultimately challenged the decision in court.

Camelot lodged a legal challenge on the grounds that the Commission had not been direct in its communication. Camelot also said its employees were entitled to “a proper explanation” as to why the license was not renewed.

This led to the Supreme Court automatically staying the licensing decision. However, Camelot withdrew its Supreme Court challenge in September after media reported that funds for good causes could be at risk in a lengthy legal battle. This ultimately removed Allwyn’s final hurdle in obtaining the license.

Camelot’s legacy will live on

While Allwyn will replace Camelot, the latter will continue to have links to the National Lottery. This is done through a series of takeover agreements from the successor.

In February this year, the group acquired Camelot UK, the current operator of the UK National Lottery. Allwyn also acquired Camelot Lottery Solutions (Camelot LS) in early 2023. The US-focused company has since been renamed Allwyn North America to reflect the purchase.

Allwyn has already highlighted the impact of both acquisitions, saying they helped improve the company’s performance in the first and third half of the year.

Earlier this month, Allwyn announced a 98% rise in total consolidated revenue to €2.01 billion (£1.74 billion/$2.20 billion) for the third quarter. This is due to the acquisition of Camelot UK and the Camelot Lottery Solutions Group.

Other standout numbers from the third quarter include a 98% increase in consolidated gross gaming revenue to €1.92 billion. In terms of geographical performance, the UK is now Allwyn’s core market. Total UK sales in the third quarter were €956.5 million.

In terms of year-to-date performance. Total sales for the nine months to September 30th reached 5.70 billion euros. This was also an increase of 98% compared to the 2.88 billion euros in the previous year.