Eurojackpot Launched in March 2012

The idea for Eurojackpot—Europe’s newest multi-country lotto game—was hatched six years. The product was “born” in March 2012.

“In 2006, a project group called GENOA was formed. GENOA stands for ‘German Nordic Alliance,’ because at first, German and Scandinavian Lotteries had the idea of implementing an pan-European lottery in this part of the continent,” said Theo Gossner, managing director, Westdeutche Lotterie (WestLotto). “It took six years to see the Eurojackpot become a reality. The long realization phase is due to mainly jurisdictional problems of getting a permission for the game. For example, at the end of the last year in Germany, only four of the 16 Federal States had a licence to offer Eurojackpot.”

Raising funds was the key motivation. “This multi-jurisdictional game was born of the will of the founding European lotteries to generate more revenues for the good causes of each participating lottery,” said Kimmo Tolonen, marketing director, Veikkaus Oy.

The total population base for 22 participating European lotteries is 175 million. Current member lotteries are the 16 German state lotteries, Veikkaus Oy (Finland), Danske Lotteri Spil (Denmark), Eesti Loto (Estonia), SISAL SpA (Italy), De Lotto (Netherlands) and Loterija Slovenije (Slovenia).

Bloc members needed special legislative approval in order to participate in Eurojackpot. Some lotteries were waiting for approval right up to the startup launch. “It could have happened that Eurojackpot was not allowed all over Germany at launch on March 23, but fortunately this situation could be avoided, because at last, all 16 State Administrations gave the permission for Eurojackpot just in time,” said Gossner.

The first jackpot in the history of Eurojackpot was won on May 11, 2012. “Almost two month after the start of Eurojackpot, a player from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, hit the correct ‘5 out of 50’ (15, 21, 38, 39, 47) numbers and ‘2 out of 8’ (1 and 5), the so called ‘Euronumbers,’ on his Eurojackpot ticket which he filled in completely,” said Gossner.

Since its launch on March 23, 2012 combined weekly sales for all participating lotteries for the first eight draws are 100 million Euro through May 11. Combined weekly sales total 12.5 million Euro.

Bloc members have divided up duties in running the game. “Veikkaus is responsible for the draw,” said Gossner. “The leading Data Processing Center of Eurojackpot is at WestLotto-Headquarter in Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). In order to verify the common results, a second Eurojackpot Data Processing Center is situated in Copenhagen at the headquarters of Danske Spil. Moreover, WestLotto has the role of speaker within Germany concerning public relations issues.”

Each participating lottery separately advertises and markets Eurojackpot in its jurisdiction. “In Germany, there are nationwide Eurojackpot ads in the leading yellow press newspaper ‘BILD-Zeitung,’” said Gossner.

What does research show about the popularity of Eurojackpot? “At the moment, the aim of reaching a new range of customers is not yet achieved,” said Gossner. “Especially in Germany, there is a process of sales substitution at the expense of Lotto 6/49. Furthermore, online lottery sales is prohibited by law at present in Germany. Later this year, it will probably be allowed in Germany to offer lotteries on the Internet again. This could bring new player circles for Eurojackpot, especially young adults.”

For Denmark, Estonia and Finland, Eurojackpot represents the lotteries’ second multi-jurisdictional bloc lotto. The Scandinavian lotteries launched Viking Lotto in 1993.

“This is the third jackpot game for Veikkaus after Lotto and Viking Lotto,” said Tolonen. “A careful market positioning and marketing execution has been made for each one of these games.”

As to Eurojackpot’s impact on the other lottos, Tolonen said “Veikkaus is satisfied with sales in Finland.” Bloc members discount any notion that Eurojackpot must compete against EuroMillions.

“One cannot compare the lotteries at present,” said Gossner. “EuroMillions is well established, has two draw per week and can be played online. Eurojackpot firstly must become better known to the people.”

“These products do not compete because Euro Millions as Eurojackpot are only sold on an exclusive basis in each one of the participating jurisdictions,” stressed Tolonen. “There is not cross-selling of these products as with the two top games in the USA.”

It is expected that additional European lotteries will join Eurojackpot in 2013, as long as they fulfill the WLA security requirements.

“The Eurojackpot has expansion plans,” said Tolonen. “However, each potential new lottery to the group needs to be asked this question separately.”

Islensk Getspa in Iceland plans to begin selling Eurojackpot in 2013. “Higher prizes attract new players and Eurojackpot is attractive for younger players in the European market,” said Stefan Konradsson, CEO, Islensk Getspa. “We enjoy an excellent cooperation with the Nordic and Baltic countries with the Viking lotto game. I‘m confident that Eurojackpot and the wide cooperation will gradually grow. I believe the game will strengthen our lottery‘s sales and profits.“