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.
Annual Report 2020
After the decision of the EL Executive Committee in early March 2020 to continue the services of EL to the Members despite the pandemic, EL quickly adapted to the ‘‘new normal’’. A move from physical events to successful online meetings, a state-of-the-art new website and e-learning platform, all proved that the Association could continue it services fully to Members.
The methods changed while the mission remained the same
In this third edition of the Annual Report, EL reflects on an unforgettable year. Services to Members continued despite the pandemic. 2020 saw the launch of the online EL 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. An already planned new state-of-the-art website, corporate identity and a fully redesigned secure MyEL environment also brought new opportunities to EL Members.
Physical meetings turned into webinars focused on topics such marketing, sport betting, legal affairs to CSR, responsible gaming and security. In total, EL organised 8 webinars over 23 days with over 1,000 participants. Like many EL services, the Corporate University (ELCU) went virtual with both the Executive and Induction Modules.
The Executive Committee continued it work and defined strategic goals for 2020. The support programme for those EL Members not certified under the Responsible Gaming (RG) Framework was one of these projects. At the time of writing the Annual Report, mandatory RG certification was adopted by the 2021 EL General Assembly as well as the EL Resolution on CSR.
”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.”
EL advocacy initiatives
Advocating the interests of Members continued as an important statutory task of the Association in 2020. To remain relevant EL adapted activities and reinvented its operations in “the new normal”. Exchanges took place online with EU officials on topics such as the Digital Services Act, and EL held a successful 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 (ECA) and the World Tote Association (WoTA) to publish an open letter in EU media on battling illegal gambling online.
”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.”
Upon the EL Executive Committee’s call, the Association continued its work and changed all our activities to go online. The message and service to EL Members did not change, only the channel to reach them. For now, working from our home offices and connecting remotely continues to be the norm. EL remains positive and is counting down the days to meet again in person.