Commitment, dedication, and devotion: The iconic career of Lynne Roiter

in Lottery

On May 31, 2021, Lynne Roiter stepped down from her position as President and CEO of Loto-Québec. As a 36-year industry veteran, Lynne helped shape the lottery sector as we know it today. Her career, her achievements, and her dedication to the world lottery community have set a high standard for lottery professionals across the globe. Lynne will stay on as Secretary General of WLA through the World Lottery Summit 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. The WLA pays tribute to Lynne and her remarkable career. Read more on the WLA blog. 

After practicing law for more than a decade at the Commission des droits de la personne, the Régie de l’assurance automobile du Québec, and in private practice, Lynne Roiter joined Loto-Québec in 1985 as Director of Legal Affairs.

Loto-Québec was still a relatively young company at the time, having been established as a Crown Corporation by the provincial government in December 1969. By 1985, Loto-Québec was beginning to develop into the mega-company that it is today. And the growth of Loto-Québec paralleled the remarkable rise of Lynne Roiter’s career.

Shortly after she joined Loto-Québec, Lynne faced her first major legal challenge, successfully defending the company against the National Hockey League when Loto-Québec began selling sports betting products. Up until this time, Loto-Québec had only been selling lottery games when they ventured into the realm of sports betting.

Always seeing the opportunity in a challenge, Lynne continued to grow professionally. With the complexity of the lottery industry and the continued expansion of Loto-Québec, Lynne had many opportunities to satisfy her ambitions. Within a few years, Loto-Québec went from a company that just offered traditional lottery games to having sports betting, casinos and construction affiliates, video lotteries, networked bingo, and joint ventures for hotels and casinos. Lynne has always been fascinated with finding legal solutions to business problems, and at Loto-Québec she found her life's calling.

With each step in Loto-Québec’s evolution, the legal needs of the company increased accordingly. When Loto-Québec expanded its business into casinos in 1993 and established a network of video lottery terminals throughout the province in 1994, Lynne helped draft the enabling legislation for these business forays.

In November 1996, Lynne was named Corporate Secretary and Vice President of Legal Affairs, heading a staff of 13 lawyers. By this time Loto-Québec had grown from a company of 400 people to over 5,000.

Through the years, Lynne witnessed an enormous change in the lottery business. When she started, lotteries were competing with packaged goods, fighting for counter space at the retailer. Today the competition comes from all forms of entertainment vying for the players’ attention and dollar. Back in 1985 it was said that lotteries were gaming and casinos were gambling. Today, the line of distinction between the two has blurred.

On December 1, 2010, Loto-Québec entered the world on online gaming launching The launch of Espace Jeux faced opposition from elements concerned about the social impact of online gaming. Loto-Québec successfully defended its position, pointing to the around 2,000 illegal gaming sites online at the time, each with practically no responsible gaming measures in place. Loto-Québec was able to prove that it could channel its trusted gaming offering online in a controlled and secure environment, in yet another milestone for Loto-Québec.

 In August 2016 Lynne Roiter became interim President and CEO of Loto-Québec when then-CEO, Mr. Simon Patenaude, was hospitalized with a serious heart condition. Mr. Patenaude unfortunately passed away later that year on October 28. She was subsequently confirmed as President and CEO of Loto-Québec and became a member of the board in May 2017. With that, Lynne became the first woman to head one of Québec's three main provincial crown corporations, namely Loto-Québec, Société des alcools du Québec, and Hydro-Québec.

In fact, diversity has played an important role in the growth of Loto-Québec. When Lynne started with Loto-Québec in 1985, there were only around ten professional women out of the then-400 employees. When she joined the senior management team in 1996 she was the only woman. Today women play an important role in the leadership of the company, with nine out of twelve members of the Board of Directors being women. More importantly, a significant percentage of Loto-Québec’s managerial and professional positions are today held by women. The conscious effort to diversify Loto-Québec will be among Lynne Roiter’s lasting legacies.

International engagement

At the historic Intertoto / AILE congress in in Oslo, Norway, in 1999. The merger between the two associations was finalized giving birth to the WLA.

For many years there were two international organizations representing state lotteries, AILE (Association Internationale de Loteries d’Etat) and INTERTOTO (International Association of Toto and Lotto Organizations). Lynne Roiter, in addition to her duties at Loto-Québec, had already been serving two years as General Secretary of AILE when the association merged with INTERTOTO in 1999 to form the World Lottery Association (WLA).

With the merger, Lynne played a central role in the founding of the WLA, contributing greatly to the development of its by-laws and helping form the structure and direction of the new association. WLA headquarters were established in Basel, Switzerland under the direction of then-Executive Director, Yvonne Schnyder, and a North American office was established in Montreal, Canada, on the premises of Loto-Québec under the direction of Lynne Roiter.

Since the founding of the WLA, Lynne has remained an active member of the association’s Executive Committee. She served as the WLA’s legal advisor and figured prominently in the development and maintenance of the WLA Responsible Gaming Framework (WLA-RGF). Of the numerous talented professionals that founded the WLA in 1999, Lynne Roiter remains the only one who is still actively serving world lottery community.

During her tenure at Loto-Québec, the company has become a role model for the world lottery community. Loto-Québec was one of the first lotteries to receive WLA-RGF Level 4 certification, the highest level of excellence in responsible gaming. In this regard, the company has stayed on a course of continuous improvement, remaining at Level 4 of the WLA-RGF for over a decade. Loto-Québec has also contributed greatly to the development, evolution, and maintenance of the WLA Security Control Standard with members of their IT security staff actively engaged in the WLA Security and Risk Management Committee.

Under Lynne’s leadership, Loto-Québec hosted the WLA’s flagship event, the World Lottery Summit, in 2012. The World Lottery Summit 2012, held in cooperation with the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) in Montreal, proved to be one of the most successful conventions in the history of the WLA.

After a distinguished 36-year career at Loto-Québec, Lynne Roiter will retire on May 31, 2021. Although she will be leaving the lottery, she will continue serving the WLA through end of the next World Lottery Summit to take place from October 16-20, 2022, continuing to benefit both the association and the world lottery community by her experience and expertise. For this we are truly grateful. We congratulate Lynne on her extraordinary career and dedicated service to the global lottery sector, and wish her a contented and long and happy retirement.