World Lottery Association Suspends Russian Members

March 25, 2022
Eastern European lottery operators have succeeded in petitioning the World Lottery Association to suspend its members from Russia and Belarus.


Eastern European lottery operators have succeeded in petitioning the World Lottery Association (WLA) to suspend its members from Russia and Belarus.

A group of national lottery operators from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine called on the WLA to bar Russian and Belarusian from its ranks in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ support of that military aggression.

The WLA has now complied with that request and suspended the membership of Russian firm JSC Technology Company “Center” and Belarusian lottery operator CJSC Sport Pari.

“The very principles on which the WLA is founded; territorial integrity, public order and morality are being called into question by the unprecedented invasion of Ukraine by Russia aided by Belarus,” the industry association said in a March 22 statement.

As a result, “JSC Technology Company 'Center' and CJSC Sport Pari have lost all the rights and privileges associated with WLA membership; notably they no longer appear on the membership list, have no representation nor voting rights and no longer have access to any and all WLA activities and events including the member only section of WLA’s online presence. They have been appraised of this,” said the statement.

The move comes in response to a letter submitted by five Eastern European lottery operators and their call for WLA to exclude Russian and Belarusian lottery firms.

The signatories included Estonia’s Eesti Loto, Latvian operator Latvijas Loto, Lithuania’s Olifėja, Polish operator Totalizator Sportowy and Ukraine’s MSL.

“On the 24th of February, Russia started [a] war against Ukraine,” the letter said. “Money from sales of their lotteries sponsor[s'] bloody regimes and armies that unleashed this aggressive war against Ukraine.”

The letter’s signatories requested that, in addition to excluding Russian and Belarusian lottery operators, the industry body reach out to the world’s “leading international technology and other lottery services suppliers to stop immediately any business relations with Russian and Belarusian lotteries”.

The Ukrainian national lottery operator praised the WLA’s decision in a statement, thanking the association “for its principled position, determination and support of the Ukrainian people”.

“We do not want lottery operators who sponsor bloody regimes, tyranny and death to be in associations whose members work for good causes and improving people’s lives,” MSL said.

Earlier this month, the five operators addressed an identical letter to the European State Lotteries and Toto Association (EL). The industry body replied with a statement in which it said that “EL and its members condemn the war acts of Russia against Ukraine”.

“The situation has compelled the EL Executive Committee to recommend EL Members to stop taking bets on Russian and Belorussian teams and leagues. Furthermore, it has made the decision to suspend the membership of its Members in Russia and Belarus,” according to the statement.

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