Public Gaming International Magazine May/June 2022

12 PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL • MAY/JUNE 2022 Continued on page 45 PGRI INTERVIEWS Paul Jason: Thank you for hosting Industry Days! This must be an exciting time for you and Team LOTTO Hessen to be the first in-person conference destination in almost 2-1/2 years? Dr. Heinz-Georg Sundermann: Yes, we are indeed very much looking forward to hosting the first major European Lotteries conference in over two years, from June 13-15. Preparations have been in full swing for weeks now and we are convinced that we will be able to offer the participants a varied and exciting program. Wiesbaden is an excellent venue for the conference, especially at this time of year, and we will provide everyone ample opportunity to get to know our beautiful Hesse capital, including a visit to Eberbach Monastery in the Rheingau region. Over 800 years old, the Monastery is fascinating for its historical significance, and its ancient renown as a center for wine-making was recently rejuvenated with the construction of the Steinbergkeller, a state-of-the-art wine production facility rivalling any in Europe. It is all only a few kilometers away from Wiesbaden. And yes, it will be wonderful to finally have the opportunity for a personal exchange again after such a long time. We would like to extend a warm welcome to all participants! What are some good things to have come about as a result of the disruptions of the last 2-1/2 years? Dr. Sundermann: It can certainly be said that the pandemic has strengthened the distribution network per se. This may sound strange at first, because after all, the contact restrictions during the pandemic in this country mainly affected brick-and-mortar retailers. But we are in a special situation here. This is because our lottery products are not generally offered independently from other products like food, magazines, and other conveniencestore items. In the course of the increased consumer demand and appreciation for these products of daily use, the importance of the sales outlets for Lotto has also increased. Even during the critical phases of the pandemic-related lockdown, no more than four to five percent of our kiosks were ever closed at peak times. Our portfolio of products was not only available like it had always been – it was now positioned right along side of products with the label "indispensable". To achieve this, we invested a lot, talked to authorities and partners, and made everything as easy as possible for everyone to implement. This effort was ultimately rewarded with excellent sales figures – both 2020 and 2021 have become record years. There are likely to have been few other consumer goods suppliers who have made the same level of commitment as the lottery companies to help us all overcome this crisis together. I believe that our fast response to the crisis has given us recognition and respect from our partners. Further to that, I think it reinforces the stability and trust so important to the future of our relationship with our retailers and customers now that the crisis is over. Irrespective of this, however, the past few years have also shown how important Lotto Hessen Welcomes EL Membership to Wiesbaden for Industry Days Dr. Heinz-Georg Sundermann Managing Director, Lotto Hessen GmbH PGRI INTRODUCTION: EL Industry Days is a special biannual event for EL membership 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.