Published: October 9, 2022

In MEMORIAM: Guy Simonis

The closing night banquet at the World Lottery Summit Vancouver to feature a special retrospective commemoration of the life and times of lottery industry pioneer Guy Simonis.   

In Memoriam:  Guy Simonis

It is with profound sadness that we report the passing of a dear friend who is also an industry pioneer and icon of accomplishments.  Guy died from complications arising after surgery in the early hours of October 6. He and his wife were still residing until very recently in their beloved home overlooking Vancouver's mountains. He is survived by his wife Ina and three children Len, Joanne, and Cynthia.  He was predeceased by daughter Nadine in 2008. 


Born in Leiden in the Netherlands, Guy and Ina emigrated to Canada in 1954. In 1974 he was asked to lead the formation and later headed, the Western Canada Lottery Foundation, which  encompassed the four Western Canadian Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

In 1985 Guy and Ina headed west for Guy to lead the British Columbia Lottery when it broke away from its 10-year association with the Foundation.

In addition to pioneering Lotto 6/49 (1982) and sports lotteries (1988) in Canada, and among many other lottery innovations he spearheaded the development of Electronic Bingo opening the world’s first fully operational hall, anywhere in 1988. In 1998, the management of all casinos in British Columbia were added to his responsibility as President of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.  Some of Guy’s accomplishments and offices he served include: 

*  President of North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (1985-87)

* President of the l’Association Internationale des Loteries d'Etat (1995-1996)

*  President the International Lotto and Toto Organization Intertoto (1997-1999) and …

*  Founding President of the World Lottery Association. (2000)

As a follow-up to his Presidency of NASPL, Guy introduced an industry-training program called the Erewhon State Lottery. Originally intended as a one-time seminar for lottery directors, the program became the premier training program of the lottery industry. Over 600 middle management personnel on five continents participated in the program.  Guy created home studies on CD ROM in game design for Lotto, Keno, 3 and 4-digit numbers games and the instant game. These resources provided new lottery staff an immediate insight into the intricacies of lotteries that would otherwise be absorbed through trial and experience.  Guy continued to conduct lectures and seminars on lotteries and gaming until 2007. 


The Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award is presented at the biennial WLA Convention, the next ceremony being held in Vancouver on October 19 (yes that’s next week at the World Lottery Summit in Vancouver!)


Guy is also a prolific, and published, author.  Among his books:

Lottery Lore: A personal journey through the development of lotteries and casinos

From the Golden Age to the Third Millenium, the story of one family: Simonis

Her Majesty's Boy Scout: At Home Behind Enemy Lines

Guy loved playing the piano; the piano always lost.


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