Billionaire Richard Desmond wants to take over the UK’s National Lottery, the crown jewel of a gambling empire, The Financial Times first reported.
Desmond is a publisher and founder of Northern and Shell, a parent company of both the Daily Star and Daily Express, as well as Daily Express and Sunday Express. He also holds several celebrity magazines, such as OK! and New!.
Northern and Shell operate the Health Lottery, a group of 51 local lotteries that raise money for good missions related to health. But the Health Lottery is limited in the size of the jackpots it can offer. It has lost £160 million ($210 million) since its beginning in 2011.
Richard Desmond is planning to submit a bid for the UK’s National Lottery, hoping to take over the business from Camelot, which has now been running the lottery for more than 20 years, since 1994, Financial Times reports.
Camelot is an outsider in the UK since the Canadian fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan bought the company in 2010 for £389 million ($510 million).
The National Lottery has awarded more than £63 billion ($82.6 billion) in prizes since it started.
“The British people would not mind a British company doing the British lottery,” Paul Ashford, director in Northern and Shell told the Financial Times
Camelot’s rights will expire in 2023. However, the contract renewal process is expected to begin in 2019.
In 2000, the Virgin Group failed in an attempt to take over the business.
Media Mogul is trying to move from publishing into the gaming industry and has been reducing his media holdings. He already sold Channel 5 to Sumner Redstone’s Viacom in 2014 and is looking to sell some of his leading newspapers to the Trinity Mirror group.