Some of the countries below do also have charity lotteries. However, as far as we know, no other active charity lotteries exist in the countries below other than the ones that are outlined. While most (state) lotteries do donate a part of their revenue to charity, these do not meet the format of a charity lottery.
In January 2020, in Bulgaria, an amendment was introduced to the Gambling Act of 2012 which banned all private lotteries. From then onwards only the state-owned Bulgarian Sports Totalizator is allowed to organise lotteries in Bulgaria. Raffle, bingo and keno games are still allowed to be organised privately. The Bulgarian Sports Totalizator was founded in 1957 and formally falls under the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It has a network of over 1500 selling points throughout the country. The lottery raises some funds to support physical education and sports in Bulgaria but it is unclear how much is precisely raised annually.
Croatia’s state lottery – Hrvatska Lutrija – organizes a wide array of games of chance, including lottery, casino and sports betting games. It holds an exclusive license for lottery products.
Cyprus has a state monopoly on lotteries. The Cyprus Government Lottery is the sole provider of a national lottery since 1958 an it is executed by the Ministry of Finance. Games offered are lotto, toto, instant lotteries and number lotteries. The entire net profit of lottery sales is transferred to the public fund of Cyprus from which sports, culture, education, health and other social programs are financed. No amounts are made public. Through a bilateral agreement with Greece, the Greek operator OPAP is also allowed to offer its lottery games on Cyprus.
In January 2017, the new Gambling Act came into force in the Czech Republic which allows foreign operators from within the EU and EEA jurisdictions to obtain a lottery license. In 2020 the taxation on lotteries was increased from 23% to 30% of gross win. As far as we know, no national charity lotteries exist in the Czech Republic. Lottery operator Sazka does distribute part of the sales to good causes but they do not meet the criteria of a charity lottery. Furthermore, ZEAL group’s Lottovate obtained a lottery license in 2018, and started the ‘Loterie Numera’. It is unclear whether any proceeds from this lottery are donated to charity.
Since 2010, Estonia has a new Gambling Act which allows lottery operators to apply for a license. However, the requirements are so strict that the state-owned Eesti Loto basically holds a monopoly on the organization of lottery games.
Currently, the previously state-owned gambling provider OPAP (Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics S.A.) holds an exclusively monopoly on lottery games in Greece. In 2012, The Greek government announced the national lottery tender process with an exclusive license for 12 years. At the time, this was mainly organized as part of wider government funding scheme to help ease the Greek financial crisis. This tender process was completed in 2013. In addition to lottery games, OPAP also holds an exclusive monopoly on sports betting and horse race betting products.
In Hungary, only the state lottery Szerencsejáték is allowed to offer lottery products. In addition, they also offer scratch cards and sports betting. Overall, two thirds of the Hungarian adult population are regular customers of the company, involving approximately five million players. Unfortunately, however, only ~6% is redistributed to good causes whereas the Hungarian lottery’s pay-out ratio is among the highest in Europe: at 68%
In Latvia, only one operator is ever licensed to organize a national lottery, whereas the remaining licensees may operate slot machines and casino games. As such, the state lottery – Latvijas Loto – holds a monopoly on lottery games.
Unlike many other European states, Lithuania does not have a national lottery. Instead, national or foreign enterprises may apply for a license to run a national lottery. The two most notable lotteries are Olifeja and Zalgiro Lotto.
In Luxembourg, the Loterie Nationale holds a monopoly on land-based and interactive lottery and sports betting products. At the same time, while its legislation prohibits most other types of games of chance, commercial offshore operators do target the market. Since the Loterie Nationale holds a monopoly, there are no recurring charity lotteries.
In Malta, there is a state monopoly to organise a national lottery. In 2012, Maltco Lotteries Limited, was awarded a ten year license by the Maltese Gaming Authority. During this period no other lottery operators are allowed. Maltco is a private company and a daughter company of INTRALOT (a global supplier of integrated gaming and transaction processing systems). The Maltese government is not a stakeholder. Maltco does pay a contribution to the Responsible Gaming Fund and to the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund, a body of the Ministry of Finance. The fund aims to support various individuals, agencies and organisations that have a social, cultural, educational, sports, philanthropic or religious activity. The fund is held at the treasury and gains income through a percentage of the gaming tax and unclaimed prizes.
In Poland there is a state monopoly on numerical games, monetary lotteries, video lotteries and tele-bingo. Promotional lotteries, audio-text lotteries and lotteries in which people participate by obtaining tickets and which results in “material objects winning”, so called “loterie fantowe”, can be organised by physical and legal persons and associations without legal entity. The total income from “loterie fantowe” has to be spent on social objectives, such as charities. All lottery tickets include a charge of 25% of which 75% is destined for the Sports Development Fund (distributed by the responsible Minister) and the remaining 25% is for the Minister that is responsible for cultural matters and national heritage protection.
Totalizator Sportowy was established in 1956 and has a market share of around 95%. In numerical games this share is even 100%. Totalizator Sportowy is owned by the state, operating under the Ministry of Finance, and through the company the government executes the state monopoly on numerical games and monetary lotteries in Poland, as well as on horse betting. Since 2018, Totalizator Sportowy also offers online lottery games. The Funds receiving profits of the lottery through the Ministry are active in the fields of culture, sports, and health care.
Currently, The Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa (SCML), holds an exclusive monopoly license over land-based lottery and sports betting products in Portugal. As such, no other lotteries exist or are allowed to organize lottery games in Portugal.
In Romania, the Loteria Romana (Romanian state lottery) is the sole operator of lotteries. The lottery was founded in 1906, with the implementation of the State Lottery Act. From the beginning the lottery has supported projects that help the underprivileged in Romanian society and has financed areas such as health care, sports, education, culture and social welfare. It is unclear how much is precisely raised annualy.
Slovakia’s new gambling act came into force on March 1, 2019. The new act opens up the market to foreign operators and ended the monopoly on online games of chance, previously held by state-owned lottery operator TIPOS.
Sources Other countries
- Czech Republic - Sazka
- Czech Republic - Loterie Numera
- Hungary - Annual report Szerenscejáték 2011
- Hungary - Gaming board
- Poland – Totalizator Sportowy
- Romania – Loteria Romana
- Bulgaria - Bulgarian Sports Totalizator
- Malta - Maltco
- Cyprus – Government Lottery
- Cyprus - OPAP
- Estonia – Eesti Loto
- Croatia - Hrvatska Lutrija
- Latvia – Latvijas Loto
- Lithuania – Olifeja
- Lithuania – Zalgiro Lotto
- Luxembourg – Loterie Nationale
- Slovakia – TIPOS