Ionuț-Valeriu Andrei, General Manager of the Romanian Lottery: “The Romanian Lottery belongs to all Romanians, a modern European lottery”

Thursday, 4 April 2024

Since the end of March, the Romanian Lottery has launched its own application, bilete.loto.ro, through which Romanians can purchase tickets for the games organized by the Romanian Lottery

Ionuț-Valeriu Andrei

In 2023, the Romanian Lottery received the Excellence Award from our magazine For Continuity, Innovation and Successful Modernization of the Romanian Lottery. The arrival of Mr Ionuț-Valeriu Andrei at the head of this emblematic company for Romanians has brought major changes to the company. The digitization of the company, the fact that now a significant number of people can play the lottery from anywhere using mobile phones and online applications, the modernization of the brand appearance by assuming a new visual identity, the positioning as an important player in dedicated lottery bodies at European and global level, such as the European Lotteries Association are major successes through which the Romanian Lottery reconfirms its status as one of the most important players in the Romanian gambling market and one of the pearls of the Romanian economy.

You have been appointed General Manager of the Romanian Lottery for almost 2 years. What is the most important achievement of your mandate so far?

Nearly two years after taking up the mandate entrusted to me to lead one of the state’s symbolic institutions, which enjoys the trust and respect of Romanians, I am convinced that together with my colleagues and all our collaborators we have succeeded in meeting the expectations of the players.

The digitization of the lottery games is the most important project for the Romanian Lottery, this process being my strategic objective since I took office.

The tradition and credibility that the Romanian Lottery has is an important asset that has been our basic support that allowed us to build the future of the company on a solid foundation. The present and the future are closely linked to the dynamics of the gaming market and the evolution of technology. The digital transformation by using all the advantages that technology offers is the necessary step that the Romanian Lottery had to take in order to adapt to the needs of its customers, taking into account the new trends of players’ migration to the online environment. The strategy to increase the accessibility of lottery products was based on two projects, namely the conclusion of partnerships for the online sale of tickets and the in-house development, with Romanian Lottery specialists, of the own web-based platform.

Under your leadership, the Romanian Lottery has managed to take important steps towards the digitalization of its services, with more and more Romanians being able to play the lottery from the comfort of their homes. Amparcat.ro and joaca.loto.ro are the new ways for players to play the lottery online. What can you tell us about it?

We have been very open to as many collaborations as possible through virtual platforms/magazines in a wide range of fields with a large number of users. AmParcat.ro was the first mobile appli­ca­tion available to players, followed by the joacaloto.ro platform. The two apps confirmed the benefits we expected for both the convenience of players and the achievement of business objectives. Quick market entry, the existence of a core customer base such as AMPARCAT.RO, the diversification of sales channels, the attraction of a new segment of players (Z Gen and Millennials), the additional promotion of Romanian Lottery products within the partners’ marketing campaigns and, last but not least, zero investment costs, are undeniable advantages of these partnerships.

In the first 30 weeks since the launch of the 6/49, 5/40 and Joker games in digital format, through the partner applications AmParcat.ro and joacaloto.ro, the company’s share of online sales has reached 20% of sales.

The large number of players accessing the two platforms and the financial results confirmed that we made the right decision in favour of players who adapted very quickly and took advantage of this major advantage of being able to play from anywhere. In addition to product promotion and easy accessibility, we experienced with them a new way of being together.

The digitization process of the games started last year was completed in March this year with the launch of the Romanian Lottery’s own application, bilete.loto.ro.

For the first time, by accessing the bilete.loto.ro application, players have access to 3 completely new functionalities, namely the payment of prizes under 100 directly into the player’s bank account, the possibility to play combined variants and reduced schemes and last but not least, the possibility to authenticate in the application through ROeID. ROeID is Romania’s Single Sign-On (SSO) solution for citizens’ digital interactions with the administration, through which digital identities can be generated and managed for all Romanian citizens.

The new functionalities have been designed based on the players’ needs, considering that over 96% of the winnings are up to 100 lei and 20% of the amounts played are related to combined variants and reduced schemes. Also, in order to maximize the security of users’ interaction with the application, with the support of the Authority for the Digitalization of Romania, integration with ROeID was achieved.

Loteria Romana

Ever since last year, the Romanian Lottery has a new visual identity, a more modern one and in line with current times. Why did you take this step and what was the feedback from people?

In order to really modernize a company, in my opinion, the transformation has to happen on all levels. Our 117th anniversary was the most appropriate occasion to mark the new phase of modernization and digitalization we are in by launching a new visual identity. The company’s new identity is closely related to the values of Romanian society that we respect and cherish. The new concept defines our vision for the present and the future. The Romanian Lottery belongs to all Romanians, a modern European lottery. The elements that are perfectly integrated in the new concept observe the symbolism of the colors that define both the sense of national identity, red, yellow and blue, and the lottery green. The four-leaf clover, the traditional symbol of good luck, the lottery balls – the most awaited moment by players – and the dose of hope and optimism are metamorphosed into the new visual identity of the company. Players have responded positively to all the changes we have made so far and I am convinced that we have succeeded in sending a much needed strong message through “Luck for all Romanians”.

You were recently at ICE London 2024, the most important fair dedicated to the gaming industry in the world, where you made a presentation at ICE Vox 2024 about the progress made by the Romanian Lottery recently, especially in the digital area. What did you present and how was your presentation received?

Strengthening the role of the Romanian Lottery internationally has been an ongoing concern for me.

We have developed relationships both within the European Lotteries Association and the World Lotteries Association and we have done our best to be actively involved in major industry events and to present the projects and progress of the Romanian Lottery.

The ICE London Exhibition together with the EL/WLA Marketing Seminar are two leading events in the gaming industry, with an important tradition, facilitating the exchange of ideas and experience, familiarization with the latest trends and technologies in the field as well as identifying development opportunities and finding solutions to industry-specific problems.

For the first time, this year, at the Marketing seminar organized in London by the European Lotteries Association and the World Lotteries Association, where representatives of lotteries from all over the world participated, with about 170 people from more than 30 countries, I was invited as a speaker to present the digitalization projects of the Romanian Lottery.

At the same time, during ICE VOX 2024, the most important educational event in the industry that brings together industry leaders, politicians and regulators, I participated as a speaker in the panel “A new era: Embracing the long-term iLottery opor­tunity”. Here I had the oppor­tunity to share inno­vative perspectives on the gaming industry and high­light significant progress in the digiti­zation of the Romanian Lottery. The context allowed me to pre­sent our strategy to bring luck closer to as many Romanians as possible and to participate in debates on major industry topics, together with important gaming leaders.

The active participation in the two events brought the strong brand of the Romanian Lottery to the forefront internationally, providing a great plat­form to increase the company’s visibility in this field.

On 4-7 November, the Romanian Lottery will host the European Lotteries Corporate University-Induction Seminar in Bucharest. What details can you give us about this project that will take place for the first time in our country?

As a result of the discussions we had during the recent events organized by European Lotteries, the opportunity arose to organize this seminar in Bucharest. We are happy to host the community of experts from all over Europe and to make our own contribution.

As a full member of the European Lotteries Association (EL) since its inception in 1999, the Romanian Lottery has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting the values and initiatives associated with the lottery industry at the European level. With an active and constant presence in EL activities, the Romanian Lottery has strengthened not only its own position within the industry, but also its contribution to the development and promotion of the high standards of the industry. In addition, as a result of its involvement in EL, the Romanian Lottery has organised numerous relevant events, such as the European Lotteries Corporate University – Induc­tion Seminar, which provides a new frame­work for the exchange of knowledge and expe­rience among lottery professionals. The event that will take place in Bucharest, organized by European Lotteries and the Romanian Lottery, is a specialized seminar dedicated to training and dissemination of know-how to employees with up to three years of experience in the lottery industry and represents a unique platform for professional and personal development of new­co­mers in the lotte­ry industry.

I am justified in believing that with this event, which is organised in our home country, the Roma­nian Lottery reconfirms its position as a reliable part­ner within the European lottery community, promo­ting excellence and inno­vation in this dynamic sector.

The Romanian Lottery is an important supporter of responsible gaming and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. What can you tell us about this? What successful projects has the Romanian Lottery had in this direction lately?

For the Romanian Lottery, the concept of responsible gaming and responsible behaviour towards gambling has always been a priority. We have a strong commitment to ensuring high safety and security standards for players and to preventing and combating addiction. I can say with certainty that the Romanian Lottery com­plies with all regulations imposed by the le­gis­lation.

The effectiveness of the company’s strategy to promote healthy gambling and prevent addiction is also supported by the European Lotteries certification on responsible gaming that the Romanian Lottery holds.

In 2023, the Romanian Lottery was active in participating in gaming industry conferences and events relevant to the exchange of best practices and expertise in the field of responsible gaming and several awareness and education campaigns were conducted in the community to promote responsible gaming and provide useful infor­mation and resources to our players.

Together with the Responsible Gambling Asso­ciation, the Romanian Lottery has participated for several years in a project through which our players and their families can access a toll-free telephone hotline, 0800.800.099, through which people with potential gambling problems can schedule five free psychological assessment and counselling sessions at one of our psycho­therapy offices.

Since the establishment of the State Lottery in 1906, the story of luck has served the good of Romanian society. Together with our fellow citizens who have always known that, besides the chance to win, by participating in the games organized at the highest security standards, they contribute to the realization of projects of national public interest, we too are proud of the fact that the Romanian Lottery confirms the important role it has played throughout history in response to the trust it has enjoyed.

Sport, culture and cults, education, social assis­tance are some of the areas that have benefited over time from the support of the Romanian Lottery, either directly or through sponsorships.

Last year, the Romanian Lottery joined the Romanians in one of the most important projects of the country – Timișoara, European Capital of Culture. Together with the players, we were proud to be able to support culture, at the highest level, through a special lottery, DRAW TIMIȘOARA 2023 EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE, dedi­cated to this important event for Romania. Timisoara also hosted the 23rd edition of the “ROMANIAN LOTTERY RACE”, an event with tradition that supports the promotion of sport, in the spirit of encouraging the practice of mass sports.

What is your main objective in the immediate future in terms of the strategic vision of the Romanian Lottery in the medium and long term?

The continuation of the digitization process of the Romanian Lottery remains the main objective and our medium and long-term strategy is linked to it.

Our development strategy is aimed both at diver­sifying our product portfolio and expanding our network of partners in the digital area, as well as in the major retailers.

We aim to re-enter the fixed-odds sports betting market and to consolidate our reputation as the most credible and respected gambling organizer in Romania in this sector as well.

This year we also have a first in the area of draws. RON 5 million is the headline prize of the MAGNIFIC RON 5,000,000 draw, the biggest prize ever put at stake by the Romanian Lottery.

We want the Romanian Lottery games to be available, accessible and attractive for more and more Romanians and of course a better awareness of the contribution of each one, through a responsible game, to projects of national public interest.





Author: Editor

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