Published: April 27, 2024

Lotteries in Europe: Safeguarding a Common Cultural Heritage for Society

From left to right: Arjan van 't Veer, EL Secretary General, Geraldine Demaret, The National Lottery, Romana Girandon, EL President, Her Royal Highness Princess Claire of Belgium, Jannie Haek, CEO, The National Lottery & Sara Lammens, Royal Library (BE)

”The purpose of the EU at its core is to make the lives of EU citizens better. National lotteries, connecting millions of people across Europe and raising 22 billion euros in funds for public good in 2022, are helping to do just that. This is why I am proud to be speaking here at the Colloquium, recognising the importance of the societal role of the lotteries in Europe. ”
Romana_Girandon.jpgRomana Girandon, EL President

National lotteries are unique. They are part of strong and longstanding traditions. With the first modern lottery game conceived in 1441 in Bruges (Belgium), lotteries in Europe truly share a common cultural heritage and contribute to decades of positive social impact on society.

There is no doubt that this lottery model has stood the test of time, providing crucial funding for societal needs across Europe. But, in the modern context of a rapidly evolving digital landscape and the emergence of new games, the imperative to preserve lotteries and their resilience for society is more important than ever.

This week’s Colloquium (18-19 April), organised by The National Lottery (Belgium) with the support of The European Lotteries (EL) and under the auspice of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, served as a significant platform to champion the importance of lotteries for cultural heritage and emphasis the need to protect them as an integral part of Europe's social fabric. The Colloquium had the pleasure of welcoming Her Royal Highness Princess Claire of Belgium, also in her role as Honorary Vice-President of Belgium’s Queen Paola Foundation.

Leading voices in the field including Jeroen Puttervils, Associate Research Professor, University of Antwerp and Malcolm Fleming, President, Association of Charity Lotteries in Europe gave insights into the modern birth of lotteries and the social landscape in Europe. Keynote speaker Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the EU offered legal understandings into the court's recognition of cultural, religious, and moral nuances shaping lottery organisation across EU Member States.

The programme also featured inspiring case studies from EL members (ONCE, Veikkaus and Santa Casa) on their valuable contributions to society, as well as firsthand accounts from  beneficiaries of lottery-funded cultural initiatives (including the Queen Paola Foundation, Nederlands Olympisch Comité / Nederlandse Sport Federatie, and the European Sports NGO ENGSO).

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