The National Lottery of Netherlands -The Tradition of the Oldest Existing Lottery

Saturday, 15 February 2014

-by Oana Mihalache

Important in life is to give (to offer), not just to win. Perhaps this is the philosophy that guided by the Dutch nearly 300 years ago when they started the oldest lotteries.

The Promising Dawn of Lotto

The lottery system became official in the year 1974, when the Amendment of the Gaming Act introduced lotto and casino games as a monopoly. The first lotto draw took place two years later, on September 1st, 1976. But the Dutch state lottery was established in 1726 and it’s now the oldest still existing state lottery. In that time, lotteries were a method used by sub-national authorities in order to get financial resources. This led to the decision that was taken in that year: to add all the lotteries in a collective lottery.

The State Lottery – a Profitable Business

The current state lottery is the largest lottery of the Neatherlands, with a total turnover of 700-800 million euro annually. Apart from the monthly state lottery, the foundation also organizes a weekly lottery under the name Dayzers, and once per year, the New Year’s Eve lottery.

The main state lottery is De Lotto, which has a staff of 140 people and is divided into for main groups, in order to target different audiences. Lotto is one of the most popular products provided, which has a frequency of 60 times per year and around 700.000 active players. Another division is Toto, which was introduced in 1953 and gathers 50.000 players and is split among Toto 13 League Rounds (pools), Toto-Score (result of one match) and Toto-Select (the selection of a number of matches prognostication). The third product is Lucky Day, meaning a daily TV draw and which attracts 350.000 regular players. And last but not least, Scratchcards are another division that is highly popular in the country.

The Winning Mix – Lottery and Charity

The National Postcode Lottery is the biggest charity lottery in the Netherlands.It was founded in 1989 by Novamedia, a marketing agency that sets up and runs charity lotteries. Fifty percent of the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s gross proceeds goes directly to various charities. With 2.5 million participants and a total of 4.5 million tickets in 2012, the Postcode Lottery gave 291 million euros to more than 95 charities working in the fields of conservation, environmental protection, developmental aid and human rights. They include the Clinton Foundation, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam Netherlands, the World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.


The way the Dutch Postcode Lottery works is a classic example of a win-win situation. After all, it’s not only our charities that are richly rewarded. Each year, more than 9 million participants are treated to a host of prizes, ranging from full VIP treatment at a resort to becoming a millionaire overnight. The weekly PostcodeStreetprize, in which a whole street stands to win a spectacular cash award, is popular and well known throughout the Netherlands. There’s even a Green Postcode Prize, in which we award money to a whole neighbourhood! The highlight of these neighbourhood awards is the Postcode Kanjer, given out on 1 January each year. This prize is the biggest in Dutch lottery history.

Communication channels

The ambassadors of the lottery include Dutch stars Caroline Tensen, Quinty Trustful and Martijn Krabbé. Their television programmes (more than 300 a year!) help to support a many charities and show lottery participants how the money is spent. They also spread this message through various forms of direct mail correspondence, our annual report, and free publicity. Every year, depending on the growth of the lottery, new charities are welcomed to the group of beneficiaries.

License and External Auditing

Lottery licences in the Netherlands are granted by the Minister of Justice. The Ministry of Justice and the Dutch Gaming Control Board supervise the national gaming licences and compliance with the Act on Games of Chance. The Board also advises the Minister regarding changes in the rules and regulations, licence and licensees’ rules for participants and monitors the activities of all national legal gaming organisations in the Netherlands for this purpose.

The external auditing of the work of the Dutch Charity Lotteries is carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Netherlands Metrology Institute (NMI) and notary J.P. van Harseler. Accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers audit the figures and its computer experts check the data processing of the members’ accounting records. The Netherlands Metrology Institute audits the processes regarding the fairness of the lottery. The notary Mr J.P. van Harseler of Amsterdam carries out the draw of the Dutch Charity Lotteries.

Author: Editor

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