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Lotto Niedersachsen achieves fifth RG certification

Committed to addressing illegal gambling and related criminal activities while minimising any potential harm on society, EL has developed a Standard that aims to promote the adoption of best practices across the EL membership: the EL Responsible Gaming Certification.

EL Member Toto-Lotto Niedersachsen GmbH recently became Responsible Gaming certified for the fifth time. This is an excellent achievement which emphasises the importance of the core lottery value of responsibility.


In this interview, CEOs Axel Holthaus and Sven Osthoff tell us all about the growing activities of the lottery in the field of responsible gaming and the developments over the past years since its first EL Responsible Gaming Certification.

Your lottery has been certified for the fifth time. How did the process differ from previous certifications? What are the biggest lessons learnt?

For LOTTO Niedersachsen, responsible gaming is at the heart of our daily activities in accordance with § 1 of the State Treaty on Gambling 2021. Since 2010, we have voluntarily undergone the certification process every three years to comply with the EL responsible gaming standards. We are pleased that we are one of the first state lottery companies in Germany to be certified for the fifth time and have thus achieved gold status.

Due to the previous certifications and partial assessments, we already had a lot of prior experience, so that we were able to conduct our fifth certification smoothly even in times of a pandemic. As a result, the main difference compared to previous years was that the associated interviews had to take place digitally rather than in-person. Thankfully, by that time, we had already gained a lot of experience with a variety of digital communication tools and everyone involved in the certification process was very familiar with their use from their day-to-day work.

Furthermore, the detailed preparation based on the certification framework of the EL was helpful for us. Another advantage was the central organisation of the project by our responsible gaming managers with the involvement of experts from the respective departments. The certification process is not a one-man show, but a team effort. At LOTTO Niedersachsen, responsible gaming is understood as a joint task across all areas and departments, so that this core element of our activities can be put into practice in our daily work.

Could you tell us about your progress since the first certification? What has changed and how did you grow and learn in the past 13 years?

In general, responsible gaming is firmly anchored in our management system. Responsible gaming plays an important role not only within the framework of our corporate strategy. Every employee also receives regular training in this topic, is aware of its relevance and how it applies to his or her particular area of work.

Our standards for responsible gaming are very high. We are very committed to a continuous development of responsible gaming. Scientific research provides us with evidence-based knowledge to adapt our responsible gaming measures if necessary. The EL certifications also offer a regular opportunity to step back and take a critical look at our day-to-day work.

Digitalisation is also playing an increasing role in the gambling market. We are prepared for this and are continuously developing our responsible gaming measures strategically – both in our retail outlets and in our digital gambling services, such as our mobile apps and our website www.lotto-niedersachsen.de. We have set ourselves ambitious goals, strived for the best results and got approved again within the framework of the certification.

Specifically, compared to the certifications in previous years, the legislation for gambling in Germany has changed with the State Gambling Treaty 2021 before our fifth re-certification. With this new regulatory framework, the requirements for responsible gaming for online gambling have changed. The increasing digitalisation of our gambling services and the data that comes with it also allows us to gain a more detailed insight into the gambling behaviour of our customers, as gambling is no longer done anonymously at the retail outlets – so that we can intervene in critical cases if necessary.

Reaching the fifth certification is a huge achievement. Did you set yourself specific goals this time and did you reach your expected results?

Our own standards for responsible gaming are very high, which is why we also apply these standards to the certification and its results. The integration of responsible gaming into LOTTO Niedersachsen’s strategic management system as well as the continuous improvement of the responsible gaming measures are particularly important to us. We are also happy to receive constructive criticism – for example, within the framework of the certifications – in order to improve already existing measures or to develop new approaches.

What was the most difficult part of the fifth certification and how did you overcome it?

It is very important to us that we do not only perform in responsible gaming on the days of certification, but every single day in every department and team within the organisation. In that sense, it was challenging to have the fourth re-certification take place shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic, so that we had to digitally maintain our joint efforts in terms of responsible gaming until the fifth re-certification – even under difficult conditions without in-person exchange between the individual departments. But thanks to modern technology we were able to overcome it.

What was the added value for your lottery in being certified for a fifth time? For example, how does it influence your daily business - retail outlets, product development, relation with stakeholders?

Our fifth certification shows once again that we go beyond the legal requirements with our responsible gaming measures. For our customers, this implies: Gambling at a high level with reputable and safe lottery products.

For us, the certification itself is an essential tool in our operations which it has been ingrained in the DNA of our company. It is important for us to value and appreciate the responsible gaming work everyone is doing on a daily basis, but also to be shown that what we are doing is acknowledged by our stakeholders. For our external stakeholders, the cerfitication once again raised awareness of our strongly developed and robust responsible gaming programme. On top of that, it is especially relevant in our market where a continuous certification is a clear differentiation from illegal operators who unfortunately still take advantage of the most vulnerable players.

What advice do you have for EL Members concerning their (re)-certification process?

It has probably already become quite clear in the previous answers: Responsible Gaming should be part of the daily business of the entire company and should not only be practised shortly before the certification. It is essential to integrate responsible gaming into the strategic management system and the company culture and to continuously improve the associated measures. With regard to the next upcoming certification, it is helpful to thoroughly study the latest certification framework in advance and to actively involve all departments in the company.