Lottery umbrella organisation European Lotteries (EL) has published its 2020 Annual Report, which it describes as ‘a year like no other’ following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lotteries across Europe as well as the rest of the world.
EL stated: “2020 was a year like no other. As the COVID-19 pandemic presented Europe and the rest of the world with the biggest health, economic and social crisis in modern history, in just a matter of weeks, the lottery world saw full closures of its operations and priority actions to protect players, lottery employees and retailers.
“Yet, national lotteries upheld their historic support to society in times of need. EL Members continued to fulfil their core values of responsibility, sustainability, and integrity by supporting local communities – from offering relief and funding medical equipment to the creation of emergency funds and welfare aid and helping the most vulnerable in times of need.”
EL noted that after the decision of its Executive Committee in March 2020 to continue providing EL services to its members despite the pandemic, it quickly adapted to the ‘new normal’.
It changed physical events to online meetings, with webinars focusing on topics such as marketing, sports betting, legal affairs to CSR, responsible gaming and security. In total, it organised eight webinars over 23 days with over 1,000 participants. The Corporate University (ELCU) went virtual as well with both the Executive and Induction Modules.
The organisation also launched a new website and e-learning platform for all members available in four languages with general modules on personal effectiveness and modules on CSR and training for HR professionals.
EL President Hansjörg Höltkemeier commented on how proud he was that the organisation was able to adapt quickly to the ‘new normal’ enforced by the pandemic.
He said: “There is no doubt in my mind that the global pandemic has had a significant impact on the lottery sector. In 2020 in just a matter of weeks, businesses and society came to a near full standstill in an attempt to halt the virus – we saw full closure of lottery operations, priority actions to protect players, lottery employees and retailers and lottery campaigns adapted to support the health sector. I am proud that the work of EL continued in a professional way, no matter what.
“From virtual meetings and successful online events to a new website and e-learning platform, EL quickly adapted to the ‘‘new normal’’. I look forward to continuing our work together and the moment when we can all meet together in person”
The Executive Committee continued its work and defined strategic goals for 2020, with the support programme for those EL Members not certified under the Responsible Gaming (RG) Framework was one of these projects. Recently, mandatory RG certification was adopted by the 2021 EL General Assembly as well as the EL Resolution on CSR.
Advocating the interests of members continued as an important statutory task of the EL in 2020, as the organisation adapted activities and reinvented its operations.
Exchanges took place online with EU officials on topics such as the Digital Services Act, and it held a webinar under the prestigious patronage of the (then Croatian) Presidency of the EU Council on the important role of national lotteries during a crisis.
Under the leadership of the Public Affairs Coordination Working Group, EL joined forces with the European Casino Association and the World Tote Association to publish an open letter on battling illegal gambling online.
Arjan van t’ Veer, EL’s Secretary General, added: ”When I drove back home on the evening of 10 March 2020, I didn’t expect that I would not see the EL Brussels office nor the whole EL Team for more than a year. And what a year it was!
“Upon the Executive Committee’s call, we continued the work and changed all our activities to go online. The message and service to our Members didn’t change, only the channel to reach them. I am proud of the EL Team who continued to serve the EL Members with the same dedication and warmth as prior to the pandemic. EL opened up nine home offices and it worked perfectly.
“This year full of unprecedented events taught me more than ever to appreciate and to enjoy the things you take so easily for granted; family and friends, health, freedom, the small things. You have to enjoy it to the max as it can be taken away in an instant.”
The full 2020 Annual Report can be found here.