News from the European Lotteries

Our partner, the European Lotteries (EL) had a busy lockdown period. Here is a short summary of their activities in the spring and the beginning of summer.

EL published its 2019 Annual Report

In June, EL organised its annual General Assembly. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the General Assembly took place as a fully written procedure. An important result of the General Assembly is the EL 2019 Annual Report.

At the time of writing the 2019 Annual Report, EL and the world faced the pandemic spread of COVID- 19. In only a few weeks, businesses and society came to a near full standstill in an attempt to halt the virus. The consequences, as well as the never before seen measures to deal with this situation, were felt by lotteries, and no doubt case a shadow over the 2020 developments in the sector. Nonetheless, EL reflects on a successful 2019.

2019 saw the 10th EL Congress and Trade Show in Antwerp, hosted by the Nationale Loterij/Loterie Nationale of Belgium, bringing together over 800 attendees. The EL Members elected a new Executive Committee and the re-appointment of Hansjörg Höltkemeier as EL President (2019-2021). EL Members also adopted a Resolution calling for a risk-based approach towards advertisement restrictions for games of chance – a hot topic for 2019.

During the year, EL took further steps regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR) with its newly published CSR Guidelines. On responsible gaming, 63% of Members were certified in 2019 with the Commitment Level bringing newly certified EL Members. On innovation, EL conducted a study on blockchain developments and to further improve the knowledge and data-sharing, a Socio-economic impact study was issued, the legal study was updated, and a study was done on the various taxation models under the EL Members. The fight against illegal operators is a priority for EL and 2019 saw a newly formed Taskforce on Illegal Gambling.

EL continued in 2019 with important partnerships including with ENGSO; the cooperation between the two organisations was renewed.

Click here to read the Annual Report.

Successful "National Lotteries for the Benefit of Society" seminar

On 10 June, lottery executives, direct beneficiaries of lottery funding and EU policymakers came together via an online seminar to discuss the role of national lotteries for the benefit of European society. The event which gathered over 180 participants, was organised by EL under the patronage of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

National lotteries in Europe have traditionally played an important role in financially supporting their communities, especially also in grassroots and professional sport. They have proven to work successfully for generations to protect their players and provide a consistent source of financing for the benefit of society. Without national lotteries, European society, culture and welfare would be 21 billion EUR poorer, as they directly support valuable projects related to sport, science, education, art and people with disabilities.

As the moderator, EL Secretary General Arjan van ‘t Veer opened the discussion by highlighting the importance of national lotteries as a sustainable and fundamental source of income to support good causes in Europe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, lotteries have continued to fulfil their core values of responsibility, sustainability and integrity by supporting communities throughout this difficult time. Campaigns have been adapted to aid the healthcare sector, for example with the funding of medical equipment, as well as delivering daily essential supplies to care homes and creating emergency funds.

At a time when national and local government funding is in ever shorter supply, the challenges faced by communities across Europe are ever more complete. The current widespread and successful economic model of national lotteries is the optimal one, as it provides secure games in a controlled and safe environment for consumers and grants a sustainable and consistent financial support to European society. Now more than ever, it is vital to safeguard the benefits of national lotteries for society and support national gambling policies through the principle of subsidiarity.

Member of the European Parliament (European People's Party) Pablo Arias Echeverría from Spain highlighted the important work of EL Member Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (ONCE) who’s social role in Spain is very well-known, focusing on the inclusion of people living with disabilities for example, in education and the labour market.

"We have to promote models based on responsibility and if possible, social work behind them", said Mr Arias Echeverría. From a policy perspective, he outlined the work of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee in the European Parliament which is currently working on a report on the future Digital Services Act, including a reform of the e-commerce Directive. Mr Arias Echeverría adds, "It is also important to establish clear rules on gambling activities to protect the most vulnerable".

From the lottery perspective Stéphane Pallez, CEO and President of Française des Jeux (FDJ) emphasised the importance of 85 years of solidarity from the national lottery in France and its contributions to national wealth annually. In 2019, 3.9 billion EUR went to state budget, including support to specific actions such as sport events and national heritage.

‘‘Lotteries act for society! The COVID-19 pandemic has given us the opportunity to showcase our solidarity once again. Special measures taken during this difficult time have given us the momentum to reinforce our commitments and complete our 'raison d’être', aiming at including in its bylaws the company’s purpose for the benefit of society’’, said Mrs Pallez. ‘‘FDJ has taken several priority measures to protect players and retailers during the pandemic, such as helping and providing masks to our retailers still open during the lockdown, adapting our responsible gaming messages and suspending some lottery products not consistent with health and sanitary rules" - she added.