Britain's National Lottery was long thought to be a licence for life for original victor, Camelot. They've held the spoils through all three decade-long contacts so far. Despite high-profile competitor bidding and subsequent lengthy legal opposition.
As the fourth award came up for grabs, all concerned considered they would once again prevail.
Yet they have not.
The other bidder, Allwyn - backed by a Czech billionaire - vowed to put the whole enterprise "back to the heart of our country". Thus hinting at a reason for success.
A great deal of business press column inches discuss the coup.
Here's one such paragraph, with specific interest to those of us in solution selling who also regularly compete through response to tenders.
"Despite the to and fro, it is understood Allwyn and Camelot scored the same number of points under the Gambling Commission’s scorecard for technology proposals contained within their bids."
Well now. Every tender issued has such a scorecard.
Spoiler Alert :: seldom does the response earning the higher marks win the contract.
In this case, a score draw (if those reports are true) provides fascinating insight into how this bid - and crucially any such official tender process - gets decided.
For instance, I've blogged before on deal tiebreakers.
The key 'justifier' that truly sets you apart in the most compelling of ways for those evaluating your wares. Your 'noteworthy difference'.
It is one of the fundamental jobs when competing in this format to know what these would be.
Allwyn clearly knew theirs.
Typically, they are not product related. Nor price.
The now officially preferred bidder, is not without track record. They are Europe's largest lottery operator.
Whilst scale does not appear a factor in this bid, a handful of non-operational pointers appear to have fuelled the felling of the incumbent.
These include better use of tech, both with online options and service as well as in reducing any player gambling addiction. Alongside in that latter drive, lessening dependence on troublesome scratchcards.
The operational promises seem to feature a ticket reduction, back to the classic £1 a go. As well as a headline grabbing, significant increase in the money collected for 'good causes'. With the winner;
"pledging to donate more than £30bn to good causes over the next decade, a much more rapid rate of return than the £45bn Camelot raised since it began running the national lottery in 1994".
Also of note to the inner tender-geek that many a successful solution seller will posses, is how the judging scorecard was - play in your mind the classic 'devil's interval', 'shock horror' tritone Dun-Dun-Duuun! - changed after initial scoring.
Here's three sentences from London Broadsheet The Telegraph from 15 March 2022;
Preliminary scoring in the battle between Camelot and Allwyn is believed to have come down in the incumbent's favour.
But industry insiders claim that a "risk discount" intended to take into consideration the danger that bidders would fall short of their financial promises was adjusted at a later date.
The move was pivotal because Allwyn was pledged to raise £38bn for good causes over the next 10 years, more than double the amount generated by Camelot at the start of the third licence, and comfortably more than what Camelot is said to have projected for the fourth licence.
Risk Discount. That's quite the spec line item. To then have it 'adjusted' would also seem a pretty big deal. And if you feel this kind of thing only happens on mega-bids, please do think again.
Lastly, let's remember the bigger picture. If you ever want to learn why you won, and what success and legacy will look like, when you win such a formal bid, then how about asking for something like this summary. Given by the person at the head of the body giving the award, Gambling Commission chief exec, Andrew Rhodes;
“I am confident that the success of the competition will lead to a highly successful fourth licence. One that maximises returns to good causes, promotes innovation, delivers against our statutory duties, and which ultimately protects the unique status of the national lottery.”
That's quite the four-pronged plan.
Imagine asking your buyers on whose bid you're working what their equivalent statement might look like.
All this should now provide the new operator with revenues of £80bn over their next ten years. With profits of £400m over the term. And now we can do similar in our field of play.