While 16 people became millionaires in 2021, billionaire investment firm Olaf Thun (99) brought in NOK 3.6 million from the mortgage lottery.
Every time you press the Red Cross button on the deposit machine, you help support the activities of the world’s largest humanitarian organization in Norway. What you may not be aware of is that a modest portion of the income from the large yard ends up with Olav Thon’s investment firm Thon Holding.
The company owns 60 percent of the shares in Norsk Pantelotteri AS. Over the past five years, Olav Thon, through Thon Holding AS, has siphoned NOK 19.5 million in profits from Pantelotteriet.
– I understand that you are asking the question, but I am not at all ashamed that part of the profits goes to Thon Holding. In order to run Pantelotteriet, we depend on the company being financially sustainable and profitable, says Gaute Langdal, Managing Director of Pantelotteriet AS.
– Moreover, it is important to clarify that Olav Thon personally does not receive five cents from the company’s profits. They go to the investment company owned by the Olaf Thun Foundation. Langdahl says this foundation spends money on two things – socially beneficial and tax purposes.
116 million for the Red Cross
In 2021, the pantheontry had a turnover of just over NOK 312 million.
Of this amount, approximately NOK 116 million went to the Red Cross. The amount includes income from winnings and unclaimed profits. Just over NOK 107 million was paid in dividends.
– Because of the good financial results, the board of directors decided to increase the stake of the Red Cross from 50 to 54.6 percent last year. This was the equivalent of about 14 million additional NOK last year, says Gaute Langdal at Pantelotteriet.
This goes beyond the requirement in the lottery law, which states that 50 percent of the money, after deduction of the winnings, must go to the purpose holding the permit.
– I venture to make the following claim: If you do the math and compare with other Norwegian lotteries, you will see that Pantelotteriet has the highest payout percentage for this. He says we are very proud of that.
This is due, among other things, to the fact that Pantelotteriet has a lower share of winnings than other lotteries, he explains.
3.6 million in dividends
Almost all of the profit at Norsk Pantelotteri AS — six of the NOK 6.5 million — was taken out as dividends in 2021. NOK 3.6 million went to Thon Holding, while 2.4 million went to the Red Cross, last year’s annual accounts show.
“I am glad that the Olaf Thun Group is receiving some of the profits that can be invested in sustainable mortgage lotteries elsewhere in the world,” he says.
Through Recycling Lottery International, and in collaboration with pawn machine manufacturer Tomra and Playsafe, Thon Group wants to create pawn lotteries in many more countries.
– We have already obtained a permit in Finland and in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The goal is to get a national license in Germany, a giant market in which tens of billions of dollars are pledged annually. We’re also looking at a number of other markets abroad, Langdahl says.
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