British gambling operator Camelot Global is shooting for a bigger business in the United States.
Camelot UK’s sister company recently moved in—quietly—into a leased spaced in Chicago’s West Loop area. Laura Pearson, head of global corporate affairs, told CalvinAyre.com the office only has a “handful of staff” at the moment, but they plan on having a team of more than 20 people over the coming months.
“We have been looking for a new office [in] North America for a number of months. We wanted somewhere that had great transport links, a strong source of potential staff, and is a great city to live in. Chicago ticks all the boxes for us and we are looking to living and working in the city,” Pearson said in an email.
The Chicago team is headed by Duncan Malyon, Camelot Global’s senior VP of North America. Prior to joining Camelot Global, Malyon worked as a sales director for Camelot UK, where he was responsible for developing and overseeing the British lottery operator’s retail strategy and business plans. During his time at Camelot UK, Malyon oversaw Camelot UK expand its retail estate from 27,500 outlets to over 46,000.
“Duncan is responsible for continuing to build our North American business in line with our global strategic business plans.One of his key areas of focus is to further develop Camelot Global’s future digital and retail channel strategy, to the benefit of its North American partners,” Pearson said.
In December 2015, Camelot Global was awarded a five-year contract to develop a business plan for the Arkansas lottery, but the company is eyeing a bigger game—the Illinois lottery.
“Illinois will also issue an RFP to manage the lottery in the coming months and bidders are preparing for the process. Camelot Global is committed to the state of Illinois and to winning the RFP, so this was also a factor in our decision to move our North American headquarters to Chicago,” Pearson said.
Two years ago, the state fired the company that ran its lottery—Northstar Lottery Group—which had repeatedly failed to meet its annual revenue growth targets.
Illinois was the first U.S. state lottery to offer online sales of draw tickets, but that program expired last month, and a budget squabble between the governor and state Democrats meant legislation that would have extended the program didn’t get done on time. Still, the state lottery said it will continue to sell tickets online.
Aside from Illinois, only Georgia and Michigan offer some form of online lottery in the U.S., but they may soon be joined by Massachusetts, which announced last year that it is looking for proposals for an “iLottery system.”