A Happy Lot

11 December 2001

On May 20, 2000, the Dutch sophisticated, rightwing newspaper NRC had a great coup. Novamedia, the Dutch operator of National Postcode Lottery and of The SponsorLottery would start "the biggest good-causes Internet lottery in the world: GoodLot.com."

The competition in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Gaming Control Board and the Dutch politicians did not take this news serious. "How could Novamedia take the risk to start an 'illegal' (according to Dutch gambling legislation) worldwide Internet lottery project? It would have repercussions for the ongoing operations of the National Postcode Lottery and the Sponsor Lottery," was the general opinion of the Dutch critics.

However, on Nov. 16, 2001 GoodLot was launched, and Novamedia does not breach any Dutch Laws.


The marketing company Novamedia, in the meantime, became a global player with lottery companies and participations in Europe, Asia, North America and South America. In the Netherlands, the company operates the Nationale Postcode Loterij (NPL) and the SponsorLoterij, which has been turned into the SponsorBingo Loterij (SBL).

The NPL started in 1990. In 2000 the turnover of the NPL grew with 7 percent to a total of 578.8 million NLG*. The prize money was 133.4 million NLG (23 percent) and 350.3 million NLG (61 percent) has been forwarded to the good causes. The total money received by beneficiaries since the establishment of the NPL is 2.5 billion NLG, which makes the NPL the biggest private fundraiser for good causes in the Netherlands. The SponsorLoterij, which had a poor performance, was taken over by Novamedia in 1998. In 2000 SBL grew slightly from 109 million NLG to 111 million NLG, but consolidated the doubling of the turnover of 1999. The prize money for 2001 is 20.3 million NLG (18 percent).

The total legal gambling market (State Lottery, BankGiroLottery, Sponsor Lottery, the National Postcode Lottery, Toto, scratch lottery, horseracing and Holland Casino) in 2000 was 2.7 billion NLG. In November 1995 Ecolot instant lotteries started in Uzbekistan. Novamedia owns 70 percent of the shares of the operating company. The turnover in 2000 was 20 million NLG--60 percent of the total scratch-lottery market in Uzbekistan, which has a population of 20 million.

BingoLotto Sweden was bought from IGS by Novamedia in April 2001. Turnover in 2000 was 780 million NLG.

In August 2001 Novamedia became, by buying 50 percent of the shares, a strategic partner in the Earth Future Lottery in Canada, Prince Edward Islands. Before the company can move forward with the Earth Future Lottery, however, there are legal matters to settle in Canada. The government of Prince Edward Island (PEI) has filed a reference in the Supreme Court of PEI (Appeal Division) to obtain a ruling on whether the Earth Fund's lottery license is legal. The reference is in response to an action filed in Ontario on Sept. 7, 2000 by the Interprovincial Lottery Corporation, claiming the Internet-based Earth Future Lottery would violate the Criminal Code. According to Novamedia, the court will make a decision before February 2002.

Other court cases are still going on from 1992 in the German Bundes Länder and in Switzerland, trying to obtain licenses to run the PostcodeLottery in these to countries. In 2000 the turnover of all the Novamedia-operated lotteries was 1.5 billion NLG and the turnover of the company itself was 45 million NLG. The total staff was 450.

*1 Dutch Guilder (NLG) = 0.39845 US Dollar (USD)

GoodLot License

GoodLot NV is established in and operated out of Curaçao. The advantages of Curaçao, a part of the Dutch Antilles and an independent part of the Dutch Kingdom, at least concerning the making and implementation of laws, are numerous. The Dutch gambling legislation is not violated and acquiring a license may be realized on short term:

As outlined by the legislation: "For the performance of gaming activities from the Netherlands Antilles by means of utility-line services, a license pursuant to the National Ordinance Offshore Games of Hazard (Official Gazette 1993, no. 63) shall be required, to be granted by the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles."

Other conditions are:

    "A number of conditions shall attach to this license, among others an ALN 60,000** guarantee deposit. If it should appear at the conclusion of the investigation that there are no objections, the provisional license shall be converted into a five-year license, and the guarantee deposit returned. At the expiration of the five-year term, the license may be extended."

    "The license holder shall owe the Central Government a license fee of ALN 10,000.-** per month during the first two years of the license. After that, the amount of the license fee shall be determined anew."

    "It has been agreed with the island territories that each island territory, from where games of hazard are being offered, shall be entitled to demand a contribution of up to 2 percent of the net gains from the activities to be performed by the license holder from that island territory."

GoodLot received from the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles on Jan. 17, 2001, a so called "master gaming license," number 30. Above that, Minister of Justice Rutsel Martha wrote a supportive and informative letter to Netherlands Gaming Control Board.

A Netherlands Antilles license has even more advantages. As stated in the legislation: "The profit tax for offshore and tax holiday enterprises amounts to between 2 percent and 3 percent per annum pursuant to the National Ordinance on Profit Tax 1940 (O.G. 1965, no. 58) and the National Ordinance to Promote the Establishment of Businesses and the Construction of Hotels (O.G. 1953, no. 194)."

** 1 Antillian Guilder (ALN) = 0.56180 US Dollar (USD)


GoodLot Partners are:

  • Oracle Corporation, USA (Nasdaq: ORCL) - Oracle Corporation is the world's leading supplier of software for information management, and the world's second largest independent software company. With annual revenues of more than $10.9 billion, the company offers its database, tools and application products, along with related consulting, education, and support services, in more than 145 countries around the world.

  • BEA Systems, USA (Nasdaq: BEAS) - BEA Systems Inc is one of the world's leading e-business infrastructure software companies. BEA WebLogic(R) E-Business Platform, a single infrastructure solution with complete application management, portal, integration and Web Services capabilities, was chosen by GoodLot.com. The BEA WebLogic E-Business PlatformTM was selected over other platforms because it can efficiently scale to handle huge volumes of secure transactions. GoodLot.com estimates that in 2002 it will host more than 20,000 transactions a day.

  • SureFire Commerce Inc., Canada (TSE: FIR) - SureFire Commerce Inc. delivered to Goodlot.com its full suite of online payment products and will now accept and settle payments in 30 world currencies, including the U.S. Dollar, the Canadian Dollar, the Euro, the French Franc, the German Mark and the Sterling Pound. The company can now process in more currencies than any other payment processor in the world. It has integrated this expanded currency capability into its payment enabling solutions, including its business and personal accounts. SureFire business accounts enable businesses to accept credit cards, debit cards and FirePay personal accounts on their site. The FirePay personal account is an electronic payment account that consumers can securely fund from a variety of sources--including Visa, MasterCard and electronic checks--and use to pay for products and services on the Web without having to divulge sensitive credit card information.

    SureFire Commerce Inc. is a global provider of secure online payment solutions and e-commerce support, processing over $1.2 billion of online transactions annually. The company specializes in payment solutions in three core areas: Internet payment processing for online merchants, bill presentment and payment processing for physical businesses, and corporate billing solutions. The company's online payment solutions are marketed to consumers and merchants through strategic partnerships with companies that have significant brand recognition and distribution channels. It's headquartered in Montreal with offices in Hull, Quebec and London, England. SurefireCommerce has been chosen as GoodLot's payment provider, based on the secured way payments are being processed and their complementary fraud detection system.

  • NMi Certin B.V., Netherlands - NMi is a group of companies active in measurement, calibration, testing, certification, training and consulting related to metrology and technology. It's a wholly owned subsidiary of Holland Metrology N.V., which is owned by TNO.

    The company certifies drawings for GoodLot.com to assure that each player has equal chances in the drawings. NMi guarantees that only certified drawing systems are used by GoodLot.

    NMi is an independent testing and certification institute in the Netherlands. With respect to gaming activities, the company certifies equipment like slot machines, lotteries, roulette cylinders and big wheels. Additionally, the company inspects and/or certifies procedures and quality systems to assure right operation of manufacturers, casino's and lotteries.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG also deliver their services to GoodLot. During the development of the GoodLot.com site and the back office application, KPMG Information Risk Management was involved in the definition of security and availability requirements and has been auditing the implementation of these requirements. The local division of PricewaterhousCoopers has supported GoodLot's organizational development on Curaçao, including the set up of finance and control systems.

The startup costs of the GoodLot Internet project mounted US$6 million. The Web site is offered in English. German, Russian, Turkish and Chinese versions will be added.

The company estimates that 250,000 lottery tickets will be sold in the first month and that this number will climb to 500,000 within three months.

De GoodLot beneficiaries are: UNICEF, n(o)vib (Oxfam International), WWF, Green Peace, Amnesty International, Plan (before Fosters Parents Plan) en Birdlife. Further, there is a GoodLot fund, where the GoodLot ambassadors may decide to which projects the funds are going.

De GoodLot Ambassadors are: Nelson Mendela, Anna Roosvelt, Ruud Gullit (Dutch famous ex-soccer player), Nafis Sadik, Anita Roddick en Mikhail Gorbachov.


The following tickets are for sale: Day ticket (10$, 2 chances), Week ticket (60$, 15 chances), Month ticket (200$, 192 chances) and the Year Jackpot ticket (130$, 53 chances).

The jackpot will be drawn from 109,575,000 numbers, will start at US$100,000 and will grow in relation to the number of tickets sold. The jackpot will be drawn at least once a year. According to the information on the GoodLot Web site, 45 percent of the laid-in moneys will be prize money.

Players from the Netherlands Antilles, the Netherlands and Sweden are not allowed to participate in the new Internet lottery.

A witty play on Intel's slogan, GoodLot expresses at its Web site: "Integrity inside." The GoodLot motto: The whole world wins!

On the Internet one may find sites just showing the highest jackpots in the world, such as "The Biggest Money Jackpots in the World" (www.lotto.iwarp) and "World Jackpots" 6/49 (www.lotteryshop.com/worldjackpots/), the site of an "overseas subscribers agent." The latter company is established in Amsterdam and publishes (and sells tickets of) the five worlds largest government lotteries: German Lotto, Canadian Lotto, French Lotto, Spanish Lotto and the UK Lotto. All of these sites are the domains of the "jackpot hoppers."

When will GoodLot pop up on such sites?

Only future will tell.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.