Belgian National Lottery Exec Criticised For Privatisation Remark

Jannie Haek, Belgian national lottery operator’s chief executive ‘Loterie Nationale’ was criticised for reporting on the possible sale of a state-owned property.

Belgium media had asked Haek whether the Loterie would replicate the privatisation of French gambling operator Française des Jeux (FDJ), which captured the headlines of international business by becoming one of the most successful IPOs in Europe in 2019.

In giving his personal opinion, Haek said a’ part privatisation’ of Belgium’s national lottery representing FDJ movements could be a’ beautiful opportunity for Belgian investors.’

Haek’s remark would be questioned by the progressive Open VLD party’s outgoing Belgian Deputy PM Alexander De Croo, who told Loterie’s CEO that he was in charge of a government asset rather than a private business.

“Loterie’s CEO can wish it, but we, the Government, are the owners,” De Croo said to the Council of Ministers as Belgium’s government is preparing for change, moving to an interim government headed by Sophie Wilmes as ‘acting Premier.’

In May 2019, Belgium’s general elections left the country in a political void with no deciding vote and no cross-party commitment to form a coalition governing its three regions.

De Croo argues that Loterie’s privatisation will remain low on the Belgian political priorities list and be viewed as a’ non-urgent matter.’

More criticism was drawn by Kurt Sissau, the president of the Flemish ACOD Public Services Union, who expressed his annoyance at Haek’s comment as Loterie workers had been told that privatisation “was not on the agenda” following FDJ’s public offering.