10 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MAY/JUNE 2022 Continued on page 50 PGRI INTERVIEWS Paul Jason: The theme of Industry Days, “WeConnect” captures the spirit of our times, and the excitement we all feel about getting together again in person. Many of us have not seen each other since the EL Marketing Seminar of February 2020. Hansjörg Höltkemeier: You are right. Meeting in person is much more valuable than the face-to-face video meetings that we have all become accustomed to. In a one-to-one video-meeting with wellknown partners who we may talk with on daily business, you might be able to focus on the speaker at the other side of the line, or on the video monitor – but as soon as there is more than one on the other side, maybe even discussing in different languages and getting into more complicated issues, it is easy to get lost, or maybe lose some of the important emotional content. And after more than two years of digital exchange, there are lots of topics and different views that need to be shared! I am therefore very happy and thankful that we are coming together to meet again in Wiesbaden. I expect that for all of us, this whole experience will be a kind of adventure. Every lottery executive has driven his or her business mostly from a national perspective. The degree of disruption caused by the pandemic varied by country, as did the governmental response to the crisis. So the actions that lotteries have taken to adapt to these extraordinary circumstances have varied greatly as well. Advertisement bans were applied in some countries, partial market-openings in some others, new leadership in some companies, even new operators in some places. Some of these issues are hard to discuss via phone or video in the same trusting manner as we can do in-person. I am sure that the fantastic program of this Industry Days will be just a “first-serve” to inspire the members and participants to engage in further discussions that will help us all to re-load for a future that will not cease to be changing in exciting and perhaps equally dramatic ways. More than ever, I expect “side-discussions” on the floors, in meeting rooms and – last but not least – during our well prepared and attractive evening-programm. Altogether, you see I have the most positive anticipation looking forward to this event. Welcome to everyone! How has the need to develop remote learning and meeting modes changed the EL? H. Höltkemeier: As I mentioned, there are and will be successful digital formats to serve us better in many ways, for example in remote learning. The more structured a theme is, the more it is “digital-ready”. And perhaps the reliance on digital media has made us all better at clarifying our themes, structuring the discussion, and designing the projects and action-plans. Another very positive aspect of digital is the reduction of travelling time and costs. As a result, we do see a broader acceptance of digital-learning formats and a higher participation-rate in our basic modules, so we will continue to hold seminars digitally as well as in-person in the future. EL Membership Reconvenes for Industry Days after a too-long hiatus! Hansjörg Höltkemeier President, European Lotteries (EL) Co-CEO of the Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin PGRI INTRODUCTION: EL Industry Days is a special biannual event that was interrupted by COVID. It has now been over two years since we have visited with each other and are excited to get together again in beautiful Wiesbaden Germany.