The National Lottery looks set for some big changes after the Gambling Commission announced that a company controlled by a Czech billionaire will become the new operator from 2024 (The Times £). A need to “rekindle” the National Lottery follows a decade of criticism aimed at Camelot and its running of Britain’s biggest public sector contract (The Telegraph).

While the regulator is remaining tight-lipped, the Guardian understands that Allwyn’s pitch outshone Camelot’s in two key areas: returns to good causes and efforts to curb gambling addiction (The Guardian).

The decision to award it to the Czech operator has prompted anxiety from MPs from across the political spectrum given reported links between its owner, Karel Komarek, and the Kremlin-owned energy company Gazprom. (The Financial Times £)

It’s time to come clean on why Camelot lost the national lottery licence, writes The Guardian’s Nils Pratley. “The commission should loosen up and remember that lottery players are interested in who’s running the show and why. More transparency needed.” (The Guardian)

Imperial Brands, the maker of Gauloises and Davidoff cigarettes, plans to transfer its Russian operations to a “local third party”, a means of exiting the country that rival British American Tobacco has said would avoid retaliation from Russian authorities (The Financial Times £). The maker of Winston and Davidoff cigarettes has begun talks to transfer its Russian business to a local third party in a move that will hit its financial results this year (The Times £). Imperial Brands has commenced talks to transfer its Russian operations and assets to a local third party, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine (The Daily Mail).

Alistair Osborne in The Times writes: “Britain’s fag-makers are not typically the go-to place for a lesson on corporate ethics. So here’s a puzzler: how come British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands have announced plans to cut all ties with Russia, while the likes of Unilever and Reckitt are merely shrinking operations there?” (The Times £)

Fuel retailers have been urged to pass on falling wholesale costs as the latest rise in forecourt prices pushed the bill for filling up a typical family car with petrol above £90. (Sky News)

Seven in 10 snacks sold as part of lunchtime meal deals in UK high street shops and supermarkets contain dangerously large amounts of salt, sugar or saturated fat, a new analysis shows. (The Guardian)

Virgin Wines has said it faces ‘significant increases’ in the cost of packaging, labour, energy and shipping. (The Daily Mail)

The owner of KFC and Pizza Hut said sales plunged by 20% in the first two weeks of March as a surge of new Covid cases spread across China. (The BBC)

The UK government has placed an export ban on luxury goods to Russia and hiked up import tariffs from the country on iconic products such as vodka. (Sky News)

The invasion of Ukraine has led many Western brands to shun Russia, but some still have outlets open in the country and say they are not able to shut them. Marks and Spencer, Burger King, and hotel groups Marriott and Accor are restricted by complex franchise deals preventing them from withdrawing. (The BBC)

Wilko has admitted it “got it wrong” for telling staff they could come into work if they tested positive for Covid-19, and apologised after it was criticised for issuing “reckless” guidance amid a new wave of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations (The Guardian). Retail chain Wilko has apologised for “some miscommunication” in which it told staff they could continue to work if they tested positive for Covid (The BBC).

India’s largest tobacco company is banking on growth of its cigarette business even as it promotes its environmental, social and governance standards to attract investors scared away from the industry. (The Financial Times £)