EL Congress Antwerp – Day 2: Give Chance a Chance

European Lotteries convened for a second day to address the success and failures of chance in our lives.

Talent Vs Luck

After a lively performance by mentalist Gili, three inspiring keynote speakers highlighted the role of randomness in success and failure, bringing with them their own personal expertise, interests and humour!

Alessio Emanuele Biondo

Alessio Emanuele Biondo, a macroeconomist and Professor of Economic Policy outlined the beneficial role of random strategies in financial markets. His most known work deals with complexity in financial markets, the effectiveness of random investments, and the role of randomness in socio economic systems. Recent research with fellow speakers Andrea Rapisarda and Alessandro Pluchino questions the balancing between talent and luck in reaching success.  In the words of Mr. Biondo, ‘‘financial markets are an extraordinary simple example of complexity in action!’’

Alessandro Pluchino




Alessandro Pluchino’s own research interests as a Professor of Theoretical Physics cover a broad range of topics, including statistical mechanics, agent-based models of social, biological and economic systems, and optimisation algorithms. In the last years, he has focused on the beneficial role of randomness in socio-economic systems, and the introduction of randomly selected legislators in a Parliament in order to improve efficiency and the study of advantages of random strategies in financial markets. According to Mr. Pluchino, ‘‘the probability to find moderately gifted, but very lucky individuals at the top levels of success seems to be greater than finding very talented, but unlucky ones!’’

Andrea Rapisarda

Andrea Rapisarda, also Professor of Theoretical Physics focuses his research and in turn, his presentation at the Congress on theoretical physics, statistical mechanics and the role of random strategies in financial markets. Together with Alessandro Pluchino, he was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for demonstrating mathematically that organisations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.





Parallel Breakout Sessions

Three breakout sessions in the afternoon looked at relevant and current topics for the lottery sector. Speakers and participants discussed the latest developments in sportsbetting and integrity, as well as the most up to date expertise and lessons learn on blockchain. A third session delved into the issue of responsible gaming and advertising, exchanging views on advertising bans and stricter measures on gambling operators.

Happy Accidents

Inspirational Belgian athlete and motivational speaker Marc Herremans

EL was honoured to welcome inspirational Belgian athlete and motivational speaker Marc Herremans to the Congress. Marc became the Belgian triathlon champion twice and came 8th in a world championship. He achieved 6th place in the famous Ironman world championship in Hawaii in 2001. However, just one year later his world was turned upside down. Marc gave an inspiring speech at the Congress about both the luck and tragedy in his life.

In 2002 Marc was training in Lanzarote for the Ironman championship in 2002 but fell heavily during a descent. The most promising professional triathlete became paralysed in both legs and became wheelchair bound. But Marc didn’t give up. He started training hard for special triathlons in his wheelchair and founded the “To Walk Again Foundation”. After 3rd, 3rd, and 2nd places, Marc’s biggest dream came true. He succeeded in becoming the 2006 World champion Ironman for wheelchair athletes.

In his inspiring speech to participants, Marc explained how every setback in life is a chance to fight back and not a reason to give up. ‘‘Start small, dream big and every day do something that gets you closer to your dream’’, he said. ‘‘Never give up’’ is his motto and thanks to the help and support of friends and family Marc turned the impossible into the possible.

How important is luck?

Professor Robert Frank

In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance play a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people once thought. Professor Robert Frank explored the interesting and sometimes unexpected implications of these findings for how best to think about the role of luck in life.

As Professor Frank says ‘‘even when luck has only a minor influence on performance, the most talented and hard-working of all contestants will usually be outdone by a rival who is almost as talented and hard-working but also considerably luckier!’’ He believes most of the chance events that shape important life outcomes are beyond an individual’s control. Yet, collectively we do have a say over what is perhaps the biggest stroke of good luck that we can experience – to be born in an environment that enables talented, hard working people to succeed. Such environments don’t arise by chance and require continuing investment. Luck and chance are always part of our lives.

The Aftermath of Chance

Malene Rydahl

Happiness expert Malene Rydahl closed the Congress with her personal take on how to be happy. She highlighted the challenges to overcome our inhibitions, revealed what lies behind people’s ‘perfect lives’ and helped participants find out how to be happy in their own way. She guided the audience towards the several traps to happiness such as money, power and beauty and how by looking head on at these traps, we are set free to not constantly compare ourselves. By bringing in her own personal observations, Malene outlined how the leadership style in business directly impacts performance positively as well as fostering trust, creativity and engagement. She closed the day with ‘‘the secret to being truly happy is the capacity not to take things for granted’’.

Photos: © Martimax photography

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Donner une chance au hasard

Le Congrès s’est penché sur les succès et les échecs du hasard dans la vie. Alessio Emanuele Biondo, Andrea Rapisarda et Alessandro Pluchino ont d’abord examiné le rôle bénéfique des stratégies aléatoires sur les marchés financiers.

Des ateliers parallèles ont suivi, axés sur 1) les paris sportifs et l’intégrité ; 2) la chaîne de blocs ; et 3) le jeu responsable et la publicité.

L’athlète Marc Herremans, double champion de triathlon, a ensuite prononcé un discours inspiré sur la façon dont sa vie a été bouleversée après qu’une chute ait entraîné une paralysie de ses deux jambes. Sa devise est « Ne jamais renoncer » et, après s’être entraîné pour des triathlons spéciaux, il est devenu champion du monde d’Ironman des athlètes en fauteuil roulant en 2006.

Le professeur Robert Frank a exploré les implications du rôle que le hasard joue dans les moments importants de la vie et la meilleure façon de réfléchir au rôle de la chance dans la vie.

Malene Rydahl, experte en bonheur, a clôturé le Congrès avec son point de vue personnel sur la manière de surmonter nos inhibitions, ce qui se cache derrière la « vie idéale » des gens et comment être heureux à sa façon.


Dar una oportunidad al azar

El Congreso abordó el éxito y los fracasos del azar en nuestras vidas. Alessio Emanuele Biondo, Andrea Rapisarda y Alessandro Pluchino examinaron en primer lugar la beneficiosa función de las estrategias aleatorias en los mercados financieros.

Después se celebraron sesiones paralelas en grupos más pequeños, que se concentraron en 1) las apuestas deportivas y la integridad, 2) blockchain y 3) el juego responsable y la publicidad.

El doble campeón de triatlón Marc Herremans dio entonces un discurso de motivación acerca de cómo su vida cambió por completo cuando se cayó y quedó paralizado de ambas piernas. Su lema es “No abandones nunca” y, después de entrenarse arduamente para triatlones especiales, en 2006 se convirtió en Campeón mundial de Ironman para atletas en sillas de ruedas.

El profesor Robert Frank exploró las implicaciones del papel que juega el azar en importantes resultados en la vida y en cómo pensar mejor sobre la función de la suerte en la vida.

La experta en felicidad Malene Rydahl cerró el Congreso con su opinión personal acerca de cómo superar nuestras inhibiciones, qué hay detrás de las “vidas perfectas” de las personas y cómo ser felices a nuestra manera.


Dem Zufall eine Chance geben

Der Kongress befasste sich mit den Erfolgen und Misserfolgen des Zufalls in unserem Leben. Alessio Emanuele Biondo, Andrea Rapisarda und Alessandro Pluchino untersuchten zunächst die positive Rolle von Zufallsstrategien auf den Finanzmärkten.

Es folgten parallele Breakout-Sessions mit dem Schwerpunkt auf 1) Sportwetten und Integrität, 2) Blockchain und 3) verantwortungsvollem Glücksspiel und Werbung.

Der zweifache Triathlon-Sieger Athlet Marc Herremans hielt anschließend eine inspirierende Rede darüber, wie sein Leben nach einem schweren Unfall auf den Kopf gestellt wurde, der ihn zum Querschnittsgelähmten machte. „Niemals aufgeben“ lautet sein Motto, und nachdem er hart für spezielle Triathlons trainiert hatte, wurde er 2006 Ironman-Weltmeister bei den Rollstuhlathleten.

Professor Robert Frank untersuchte die Folgen davon, wie der Zufall eine Rolle bei wichtigen Lebensergebnissen spielt und wie man am besten über die Rolle des Glücks im Leben nachdenkt.

Die Glücksexpertin Malene Rydahl schloss den Kongress mit ihrem persönlichen Blick darauf, wie wir unsere Hemmungen überwinden können, was sich hinter einem „perfekten Leben“ verbirgt und wie wir auf unsere eigene Weise glücklich sein können.

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