Lynne was honored on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 during the final banquet of the World Lottery Summit 2022 for her 37-year dedication to the lottery industry.
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 espacejeux.com. 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.
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.
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.
Guy Simonis pays a tribute to Lynne on the occasion of her retirement from Loto-Québec in 2021.
Founding President of the WLA
Lynne and I go way back. I first met Lynne when she was serving as General Secretary of AILE (the International Association of State Lotteries), one of two global lottery associations at that time. I got to know her best when AILE and Intertoto (the International Association of Toto and Lotto Organizations), AILE’s counterpart, began discussing the possibility of a merger in the late 1990s. Bringing the two organizations together required quite a feat of maneuvering and diplomacy on my part. Both association were steeped in their peculiar culture and rooted in decades of tradition. Egos, cultural differences, and years of distrust had caused a wide gap between AILE and Intertoto. I was impressed by how Lynne endeavored to make the best of the difficult situation, striving to achieve a merger that was mutually acceptable to both associations. When the merger finally occurred in December 1999, and the World Lottery Association was formed, Lynne played a key role laying the groundwork for the WLA as we know it today. I will always be thankful for the support that Lynne gave me during the merger. The world lottery community owes Lynne a debt of gratitude, for without her efforts, the merger might never have come to fruition. Through the years, I have remained in contact with Lynne. She is among the very few lottery veterans from the days of the merger that is still working in the industry. That speaks volumes about her commitment, fortitude, and will. Pleased read the IN MEMORIAM for Guy here - we are so sadded to report that he passed away just a few days before the WLA Summit 2022.