France to Launch Biodiversity Lottery to Back Conservation, Can Asia Follow Suit

Later this month France is to introduce a biodiversity lottery to raise funds for the preservation of French wildlife.

The European country is set to introduce the ‘Loto de la biodiversité’ or biodiversity lottery, through a scratch card game that offers players the chance to win up to €30,000 ($31,815) for €3 per card, according to a report from industry publication Gambling Insider.

About €0.43 from each sale will be directed to the Office Français de la Biodiversité (OFB). The novel initiative is set to begin on 23 October across the country.

The French Government hopes that the biodiversity lottery will be just as successful as the country’s Heritage lottery, which has financed restoration projects for over 745 heritage sites across France since its launch in 2018.

Could the same approach be rolled out in Asia where biodiversity and natural assets are under threat, and where lottery draws are extremely popular?

Both the Mark Six Lottery operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Hong Kong, and the Toto Lottery run by Singapore pools in the main commercial and financial hubs in Asia are extremely popular, and turnover billions in their respective currencies.

While both groups already donate huge amounts to deserving charitable causes a biodiversity-focused draw once a quarter or more frequently, could provide a unique and robust fundraising channel and raise awareness for local and regional biodiversity and nature conservation projects and organisations that normally struggle to raise funds.

In the coming French biodiversity lottery, a total of 15 million scratch cards will be available and the operators are aiming to generate €6.5m in revenue.