Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award

The WLA introduced the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 to recognize outstanding service and commitment to the lottery industry by an individual.

About the award

The first recipient of the award was Guy Simonis himself. Guy is an honorary member of the WLA, having been a major force in the industry and its spokesman as president of AILE, then Intertoto, and finally of the WLA.

The Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award is presented at the biennial WLA Convention.

The award has been presented to

Lynne Roiter

2022, Vancouver

Lynne Roiter, World Lottery Association (WLA) Secretary General and Chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee was honored with the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award during the World Lottery Summit 2022 in Vancouver. She joined 10 other esteemed colleagues who have helped shape the global lottery community into what it is today.

WLA President Rebecca Paul paid tribute to Roiter’s great contribution: “I must underscore the incredible dedication, enthusiasm and driving force that Lynne has been for 37 years as she has navigated a rapidly evolving industry and contributed her great knowledge and energy to continually improve it for future generations.”

Holding a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and law studies at Laval University, Roiter began her first role in the lottery industry as the Director of Legal Affairs at Loto-Quebec, in 1985.

She served over 20 years as Secretary General and Vice-President of the legal department, and in 2016 became the first female President and Chief Executive Officer at Loto-Quebec, until retiring in May 2021.

Some of her many achievements include:

  • Broadening Loto-Quebec from a company that offered traditional lottery games to one that has evolved into sports betting, casinos, video lotteries, joint ventures for its hotels and casinos, as well as an online gaming site offering a full range of Loto-Quebec’s land-based offers.
  • Playing a central role in the founding of the WLA and the development of its by-laws, structure and direction, which all began in 1999 in Oslo, Norway.
  • Focusing on the growing role that Corporate Social Responsibility plays in our industry, fostering diversity, where her leadership has truly made a difference.
  • Embracing the international role as WLA Secretary General, and playing a prominent role in the development and maintenance of the WLA Responsible Gaming Framework.

When Roiter joined Loto-Quebec in the mid-80s, there were approximately ten professional women in its workforce of more than 400. She was the only woman on her senior management team. Today, seven out of twelve Loto-Quebec Board Members are women and Roiter had equal parity on her management team.

Following retirement from Loto-Quebec, Roiter continues to serve as WLA Secretary General.

Before presenting the award, three WLA Past Presidents paid their tributes.

Jean-Luc Moner-Banet, former WLA President (2012-2018) and Director, General Société de la Loterie de la Suisse Romande:

“Among those few people who make our industry what it is today, you stand out for your almost encyclopedic knowledge of lotteries and of our continental and global associations. Je vous exprime ma conviction que personne dans notre communauté actuelle ne mérite plus que toi l’honneur de recevoir ce prix du nom du président fondateur de notre association.”

Risto Nieminen, former WLA President (2010-2012) and former President and CEO of Finland's national lottery operator Veikkaus Oy:

"Dear Lynne, you are a rare and exceptional combination of efficiency and warmth, a combination of management excellence and friendliness. You have a global view and vision and a lovely tender human touch. I am proud and privileged to call you a friend. Congratulations, you earned it."

Former WLA President (2000-2006) and Norsk Tipping CEO and President and Chairman of the Board at Multilot Corporation, Reidar Nordby, worked with Roiter when WLA was founded:

“A new vision statement and new by-laws were developed, and new descriptions of important working areas were presented. All professionally done by the lottery manager and lawyer Lynne Roiter! If it wasn’t for her, we would probably still have the old structure with several associations in each part of the world. So, we all owe big thanks to Lynne for all her efforts and all the professional work that was done to make a solid platform for an association of the future.”

During her acceptance speech, Roiter elaborated on how special the lottery world is, because it is so diverse, comprised of many different countries, cultures, and languages, but at the same time, there is a strong, uniting bond of commitment to do public good financially and in the responsible way products are offered and companies are run.

Concluding with a saying attributed to both Confucius and Mark Twain – “Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Roiter noted that she had been so lucky to find three: Lotto Quebec, WLA and her family.

Christophe Blanchard-Dignac

2018, Buenos Aires

The Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Christophe Blanchard-Dignac, former President and CEO of La Française des Jeux, at the closing dinner of WLS 2018, held this past November 18–22 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individual achievement in the lottery industry, is among the lottery sector's most prestigious accolades.

A graduate of Sciences-Po Bordeaux, Christophe Blanchard-Dignac began his career in 1979 as an Administrative Analyst in the Office of the Budget of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. From 1984 to 1986 he was Assistant to the Deputy Director General, Credit Agricole Bank, and from 1986 to 1988 served as Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Economy, Finance and Privatization, also in the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. Promoted to the position of Deputy Director of the Budget, Ministry of Economy and Finance in 1988, in 1994 he was named as Deputy Director General and Advisor to the President of the National Postal Service (La Poste). From 1995 to 2000 he served as Director of the Budget, Ministry of Economy and Finance, after which he was appointed to the position of President and CEO of La Française des Jeux (FDJ), succeeding Bertrand de Gallé. He was twice reappointed as head of FDJ, before being succeeded by Stéphane Pallez in 2014.

As President and CEO of FDJ, Christophe Blanchard-Dignac was instrumental in organizing the launch of fixed-odds sports betting in France with the game Cote et Match in 2002. Under his mandate, in February 2004 FDJ together with the UK National Lottery and Spain's Loterias y Apuestas del Estado launched the transnational block game EuroMillions. Now among Europe's most popular lottery products, EuroMillions is currently offered across at least 12 European countries and regularly features jackpots in excess of EUR 100 million. A strong supporter of regulated gaming, he played a key role in the controlled opening of the regulated online gaming market in France, particularly in relation to sports betting. The Parions Sport range of games, launched in November 2009, enabled FDJ to triple its revenues in this sector from EUR 600 million in 2010 to EUR 1.7 billion in 2013. During his tenure as President and CEO, annual sales (turnover) at La Française des Jeux increased overall from USD 6.03 billion in calendar year 2000 to USD 14.82 billion in calendar year 2011, making the French national lottery one of the world’s half-dozen biggest lotteries by sales volume.

In addition to serving as President and CEO of FDJ, Christophe Blanchard-Dignac served as First Vice President of the European Lotteries Association from 2005 to 2012, and as a member of the WLA Executive Committee from 2000 to 2012. Among his other contributions, he is the author of several articles on the lottery sector, including « Concilier paris et intégrité du sport » ("Reconciling Paris and the Integrity of Sport" ) and « La RSE, levier de création de valeur partagée » (CSR, a lever for creating shared value), both published in the revue Politique internationale (International Policy). Beyond his tireless work for the lottery industry, Christophe Blanchard-Dignac has been a member of numerous boards of directors, including Air France, CNRS, EDF, France Télécom and SNCF, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission. He has also been a member of the Office of the Economic and Social Council. In December 2014, he was elected President of the Bordeaux University Foundation, a structure responsible for the patronage and development of the site of Bordeaux university, succeeding Jean-René Fourtou.

For his lifelong dedication to the public good in France, especially as expressed through his commitment to the lottery and sports betting industries, Christophe Blanchard-Dignac is a most worthy winner of the 2018 Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award.

Henry Chan

2016, Singapore

The Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes outstanding service and commitment to the lottery industry by an individual is conferred every two years at the biennial convention. Mr. Henry Chan is the latest recipient of the 2016 Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented at the closing dinner of WLS 2016 by WLA Pesident Jean-Luc Moner-Banet.

Mr. Henry Chan has over 35 years experience in the lottery industry and was the Executive Director, Betting, of the Hong Kong Jockey Club for over 20 years. He was the elected Vice Chairman of the Asia Pacific Lottery Association at its founding in 2000 and was appointed to the New Media/Cross Border Committee of the World Lottery Association in 2001. He was elected Chairman of the Asia Pacific Lottery Association in 2004 and was re-elected for a second term in 2006. He also served on the Executive Committee of the World Lottery Association from 2004 to 2012. He was elected Vice President of the World Lottery Association in 2008 and Senior Vice President in 2010. Mr. Chan continues to serve the global lottery industry as a member of the WLA Responsible Gaming Independent Assessment Panel.

Dianne Thompson

2014, Rome

Dianne Thompson DBE, former CEO of Camelot Group PLC, became the eighth winner of the WLA Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award, and the first woman to be so honored.

Dianne Thompson joined Camelot Group PLC as Commercial Operations Director. She was appointed CEO of the Camelot Group of companies in 2000, a position she held until her retirement on October 31, 2014.

In her role as CEO of Camelot Group PLC, Dianne Thompson had an unparalleled track record in innovation and responsible growth. Under her leadership, sales at Camelot grew by 45% in the decade through to 2014. In 2013, sales were the second highest recorded in Camelot's 20-year history, behind only the record breaking Olympic year of 2012, which saw sales of just under 7 billion pounds.

Over the past two decades, the National Lottery has raised more than GBP 32 billion in funding for good causes, with more than 430,000 individual awards in support of good causes having been made across the UK in this timeframe. Each week, more than GBP 33 million is disbursed on National Lottery-funded projects in the health, sports, art, heritage, education, environment, and charitable sectors. At the same time, Camelot has also paid out GBP 53 billion in prizes and has created more than 3,600 National Lottery millionaires over the course of its lifetime.

Collectively, some 40 million people, or approximately 70% of adults in the UK, play the national lottery. Yet at the same time, the average spend is only four pounds per week – a tribute to Camelot's responsible growth strategy, which encourages many players play a little.

This responsible growth strategy is an illustration par excellence of Dianne Thompson's unwavering commitment to responsible gaming. Upon joining the WLA Executive Committee in 2006, Dianne Thompson became chair of the WLA's Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. In this capacity, she was a driving force behind the development of the WLA Responsible Gaming Framework. Her commitment to advancing responsible gaming has been a major boon both to the WLA and to the global lottery industry as a whole.

As CEO of Camelot Group PLC, Dianne always strove to incorporate and advance the WLA's most treasured values of responsibility, integrity, and trust into her daily business. On combining these values with her extraordinary flare for lottery marketing, Dianne Thompson made the National Lottery one of the most respected lotteries in the world.

The winner of Veuve Clicquot's coveted Business Woman of the Year in 2001, and recognized as Yorkshire Woman of the Year in 2007, Dianne Thompson was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the UK 2015 New Year Honors list for her services to the National Lottery and to charitable services. For her outstanding contributions to the lottery industry, for her long and distinguished service to the world lottery community, and for her vision and leadership in the global lottery industry, Dianne Thompson is a most worthy winner of the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement award.

Reidar Nordby

2012, Montreal

With more than two decades of distinguished service to the lottery industry, Reidar Nordby is internationally known for his dedication and professionalism. From 1989 to 2007 he was President and CEO of the Norwegian National Lottery, Norsk Tipping. Under his leadership, Norsk Tipping became one of the most admired companies in Norway. One of Reidar Nordby's signature achievements as CEO of Norsk Tipping was to oversee the introduction of player registration, making Norsk Tipping among the first adherents to responsible gaming and corporate social responsibility.

In 1993 Reidar Nordby founded the Viking Lotto Block and served as its first chairman. Spanning six countries – Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Estonia – Viking Lotto was the first multi-jurisdictional lottery game in Europe. Mixing different cultures and different currencies, Viking Lotto initially offered many challenges for its members, but ultimately paved the way for Euro Millions and Euro Jackpot in other parts of Europe.

At the inaugural WLA Convention and Trade Show in Glasgow, Scotland, in June 2000, Reidar Nordby became the WLA's first elected President, accepting the gavel from founding WLA President Guy Simonis. During his tenure as WLA President, Reidar Nordby introduced the WLA Security Control Standard, which has become well established as the lottery sector's only internationally recognized security standard. He was also responsible for instituting best practice standards for RFPs and was instrumental in the adoption of the WLA Responsible Gaming Principles at the 2003 WLA General Meeting in Granada, Spain. Owing to his sterling international reputation, Reidar Nordby served as a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of the China Center for Lottery Studies at Peking University, Beijing, China, from 2005–2008.

The Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award marks the second time that Reidar Nordby has been recognized for his remarkable contributions to the lottery industry. In May 2001, at the International Lottery Expo in Newport, Rhode Island, the Public Gaming Research Institute conferred upon him their Major Peter J. O'Connell Lifetime Achievement Award. This was the first time that this esteemed North American accolade was presented to a lottery professional from a continent other than North America.

Upon receiving the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Guy Simonis himself, Reidar Nordby said, "It is touching to me, and of course I am very honored that I am the recipient of the Guy Simonis lifetime achievement award. It is an award that I personally contributed to initiating in the name of what is a living legend among us, Guy Simonis".

One of the founding fathers of the WLA and still a visionary industry leader today, Reidar Nordby's name is synonymous with lottery professionalism.

Ed Stanek

2010, Brisbane

Dr. Ed Stanek, former President and CEO of the Iowa Lottery, was awarded the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award at the closing dinner of the WLA 2010 Convention and Trade Show in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. Stanek is widely recognized as the co-inventor of Powerball, the world's most successful lottery game, which commenced in Iowa and 14 other US states on April 19, 1992. He is also known as a founder of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which manages and sells the Powerball product. Currently, Powerball generates annual sales in excess of US $3 billion.

Dr. Stanek began his career in the lottery industry as the first employee and CEO of the Iowa Lottery, following its inception in 1985. He held the position of CEO of the Iowa lottery for 23 years, making him one of the world's most senior lottery directors. Under his direction, the Iowa Lottery developed into one of the most respected and innovative lotteries in the US. It was the first US lottery to require electronic transfers to and from all its retailers (1985); the first to sell pull-tab tickets (1987); the first to use an automated electronic random drawing machine on television (1993); and the first to deploy Electronic Game Cards (2004). During Dr. Stanek's tenure at the helm, the Iowa Lottery grew into a business with 2,300 retail outlets, annual sales of over US$200 million, and annual profits of over US$55 million. Since the lottery's beginnings in 1985, its players have won more than US$2.4 billion in prizes, while the lottery itself has raised more than US$1.2 billion for state programs.

Winner of the Public Gaming Research Institute's Peter J. O'Connell Lottery Lifetime Achievement award for 1997, Dr. Stanek is a past president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) and of the International Association of State Lotteries (AILE). He was a member of the presidium of the International Association of Loto and Toto Organizations (INTERTOTO) and is a former Senior Vice President of the World Lottery Association (WLA). Dr. Stanek is also a past president of the Multi-State Lottery Association, has served on its board of directors, and has chaired its product development group.

A former director and chairman of Iowa's energy agency and a past director of Iowa's policy planning agency, Dr. Stanek holds a Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University (1972) for a thesis entitled 'Modulation of electron waves by means of a laser'. He also holds a diploma in gemmology and is a co-author of three monographs on American decorative arts and antiques. Dr. Stanek holds US patent no. 6,887,152 (2005) for a multi-jurisdictional lotto game and also has a US patent pending on a further lotto game. He serves on the dean's advisory council at Iowa State University for the college of liberal arts and sciences, and also on several corporate boards.

Ray Bates

2008, Rhodes

Former Irish National Lottery Director Ray Bates was awarded the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award at the WLA 2008 Convention and Trade Show in Rhodes, Greece. Ray is well known throughout the lottery world for his many years of service and accomplishments within the industry. After holding a number of senior positions in the Irish Civil Service, Ray joined An Post National Lottery Company, the Irish National Lottery in 1987 as their head of information technology. Two years later he was named National Lottery Director and on November 6, 1991 he was appointed to the Board of Directors. In 1995 he was elected President of the European State Lotteries and Toto Association. He served a four-year term at the end of which he was instrumental in the reformation and reestablishment of the association as the European Lottery Association. He was elected as the first President of the newly formed EL Association and served for a period of two years. Ray Bates served as a member of the WLA Executive Committee from 1999 until his retirement from the National Lottery in March 2006. He remains an active figure in both the European Lottery Association and the World Lottery Association, acting as an advisor and consultant to the lottery industry. Ray has been invited to advise the highest authorities on Lottery affairs in many jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Ukraine, Sweden, Estonia, and Malta.

WLA President Arch Gleason stated "It is a great privileged to bestow the Association's highest honor on Ray Bates for his significant contributions to the WLA, EL, An Post National Lottery Company, and the worldwide lottery industry during his professional career. He has truly been one of our most distinguished and colorful leaders."

In accepting the award, Ray Bates, thanked President Arch Gleason for conferring such an honour on him. "It is a particular pleasure and source of great pride for me to be presented with such a prestigious award in the company of so many Lottery colleagues and friends from all around the world."

Richard Frigren

2006, Singapore

Richard Frigren inspired state-run gaming organizations all over the world to operate as modern business enterprises while reaffirming their sense of social purpose.

After climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder in a series of positions at Swedish companies, he moved to Tipstjänst in 1980. At Tipstjänst his hands-on management style matured. He served here for the next sixteen years.

In 1989, Frigren became President of Intertoto. At first purely European, Intertoto's membership went global under his leadership. State-controlled operators from all over the world were coming to realize just how much they could learn, through Intertoto, from each other's experiences.

Richard was inspired by a profound curiosity about other cultures. His enthusiasm brought the members closer and helped them understand how they could use the association's services. Under Frigren leadership, Intertoto's membership doubled. He was President of Intertoto for more than ten years, and the association's achievements during that period have shaped the WLA today.

Among his creations was the Intertoto School of Management, where gaming professionals found a structured way to learn from their peers. Intertoto's Security Working Group developed a set of standards that represented a step forward at a time when security issues were a low priority. Intertoto's staff exchange programs and its European and Asia Pacific sections helped to lay the foundations of a structured international organization. These initiatives carried over into the WLA and its role as a standard setter within the global lottery community.

Intertoto's emphasis grew to include a deep concern for the well-being of the societies in which its members operate. Richard recognized early that a focus on the social implications of lotteries is the most important success factor for our industry.

During his tenure at Tipstjänst, Frigren saw the potential of new technology become a reality. At this time, Tipstjänst launched the bookmaking game Oddset and the first multi-jurisdictional games Viking Lotto and Eurotips were introduced. These achievements are the result of Richard's ability to build a consensus. His expertise and curiosity drove the company forward in a period of change.

When Tipstjänst and Svenska Penning-lotteriet merged to form Svenska Spel, Frigren took on new challenges. In 2000 he was appointed managing director of EssNet, and later continued to serve the lottery community as a consultant.

We are proud to honor Richard Frigren with the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a man of spirit, whose professionalism allowed an entire industry to move boldly forward towards a new century. Richard Frigren set a standard of excellence that future generations of gaming professionals will aspire to uphold.

Lothar Lammers

2004, Durban

Lothar Lammers is widely recognized as the father of the modern lotto game, which Peter Weiand and he introduced at Westdeutsche Lotterie GmbH in the 1950s. Lammers later provided wide support to other lotteries as the new format gained momentum around the world.

As Managing Director of Westdeutsche Lotterie GmbH for almost thirty years, Lothar Lammers nurtured the new lotto game from its rebirth through to maturity, pioneering a series of successful enhancements that were quickly emulated throughout the worldwide lottery community. Throughout his career, has been a valued consultant to lottery and casino organizations worldwide. His achievements went well beyond the scope of lotto, however. Westdeutsche Lotterie was the first organization to launch a special lottery to fund the Olympics Games, for example. It was also the first to screen an hour-long television lottery entertainment show, and the first to offer lotto-style betting on horse races. Lammers was also the first lottery director to also operate casinos

He was Chairman of the advertising, public relations and marketing committee of Germany's Lotto and Toto Bloc from 1965 to 1986, and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Football Pool from 1985 to 1989.

He served as a member of the Intertoto Executive Committee from 1980 until 1985, and as Intertoto President from 1985 until 1989. Recognized for his dedication to the development of sports betting and its role in the sports economy, he was instrumental in the expansion of Intertoto in North America and Australasia. He was made an Honorary Member of Intertoto in 1989.

Germany awarded Lothar Lammers the Red Cross Order of Merit in 1978 and the Order of Merit 1st Class in 1984. Finland made him a member of the Order of the Lion in 1978, and he received France's Ordre National du Mérite in 1987.

Dan Bower

2002, Adelaide

During the 2002 Convention in Adelaide, Dan Bower became the second recipient of the WLA's Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding service to the lottery industry.

Dan Bower co-founded Scientific Games in 1973 and played an instrumental role in the development of instant lottery games in North America throughout the 1970s and 1980s. At Scientific Games, he provided consultancy services and marketing assistance to more than two dozen lotteries in the United States and Canada, before joining British American Banknote (BABN) as marketing consultant in 1988.

From 1991 until 1994, he served as Chairman of Automated Wagering International before becoming Co-Chairman of Tele-Com Productions. State and international lotteries have benefited from TeleCom's creativity and winning brands since 1986, when "Let's Go To The Races®" made its debut in Barbados. TeleCom licenses various board game trademarks for the lottery industry and has done business in over 40 lottery jurisdictions. The company also supports its own line of original

Dan, 70, lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is married and has four children and eight grandchildren. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1954 and served in the United States Air Force as a radar controller for three years before embarking upon a career in marketing and advertising. Prior to joining the lottery industry, he held management positions at The Kroger Company, Fisher Foods and J & H International Corporation.

Guy Simonis

2000, Glasgow

Few of us are lucky enough to cap an already glorious career with a crowning achievement of sufficient impact to cement our professional reputations for years to come. Guy Simonis is such a man. Having introduced lotteries in North America almost single-handedly, he went on to become a major force in the industry and its spokesman as president of first AILE, then Intertoto and finally, having been largely responsible for the merger of the two organizations, as president of the World Lottery Association.

And when the time came to honor him at his retirement, none of the instruments in the traditional repertoire seemed to be quite important enough for such a bigger-than-life figure, and a new honor had to be created, the Guy Simonis Lifetime Achievement Award.

At WLA 2000 in Glasgow, new WLA President Reidar Nordby Jr. duly presented the award to a beaming Guy – long may he prosper!