Lotto matches are no longer a hit

After a long absence due to Covid-19, lotto matches resumed in October in the canton of Neuchâtel. But attendance is at half mast and cancellations follow one another.

Lotto matches attract a relatively elderly population.

© Odile Meylan / Illustrative photo
Lotto matches attract a relatively elderly population.

For lovers of quine, double quine and cardboard, it will take patience in the canton of Neuchâtel. Lotto matches scheduled for this fall are being canceled one after the other. In question? Attendance in free fall.

At the last match scheduled in Cortaillod, November 14, there were barely 200 players, while we expected more than 350. The town of Cortaillod, which rents the Cort’Agora room, yet hosted two lotos per month on average annual, before the pandemic.

“We did not expect that”

Infoloto, which organizes such events for local companies, confirms having canceled four lottery matches until the end of the year and says it is considering a new formula for next year. “For the first lottery in Cortaillod, on October 24, there were 350 people”, explains Annick Moser, cashier of the association.

But then it’s the tumble. “We did not expect that. During the next three matches, due to lack of people, we had to reduce the price of the prizes so that the local company was not a loser, regrets Annick Moser. It’s demoralizing. ”

“We prefer to give up”

How to explain this disinterest? Admittedly, the sanitary measures are strict: compulsory sanitary pass, mask at the cash desks, distancing and hydroalcoholic gel. But this does not explain everything. Christian Berger, head of local companies in Cortaillod, notes that “the average age of the participants is quite high and that a lot of them are fearful. Spending between 3 to 6 hours in a room of 300 to 500 people may not be reassuring. “

He specifies that “around 300 people are needed to make a lottery at Cort’Agora profitable. In this period, we are not sure to attract enough people. We therefore prefer to give up rather than take health and financial risks. ”

From 10 to 20,000 fr. investment at least

Because these demonstrations have a cost. It takes at least 20,000 francs investment for a lottery match like Cort’Agora, 10,000 to 13,000 francs for smaller ones, like La Chaux-de-Fonds or Bevaix.

Gilbert Uldry, head of local companies in Bevaix, makes the same observation. The four lottery matches scheduled for the end of the year have been canceled. He specifies that “a long time ago, a lottery match could bring up to 6000 francs to the organizing company”. Gone are the golden days. Now it’s more like 1000 to 2000 francs, in Bevaix. For 2022, nothing is decided yet. Local companies from Bevais will have to register soon.

But financial reasons are not the only ones involved. Before the pandemic, Infoloto organized 35 to 40 matches per year. Before the resumption this fall, Annick Moser sent the dates of the events to 3,000 people in French-speaking Switzerland. “I have never had so many returns from deceased people, who had moved or no longer resided at this address.”

“Our goal is to recover our costs”

In the Haut, attendance is also at half mast. Four lottery matches have already been canceled at the Maison du Peuple in La Chaux-de-Fonds for the coming months. The next one is not scheduled until mid-February. The Amicale des sapeurs-pompiers des Montagnes Neuchâteloises (ASPMN), which was to open the season in the watchmaking metropolis on December 12, has given up.

The secretary of the ASPMN, Marc Schafroth, specifies that the lack of attendance got the better of their goodwill. “Our goal is not to make big profits, but to at least recoup our expenses. In addition, our members were afraid to come to work. We were having trouble recruiting staff this year. ”

Still in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Christophe Bolle, president of the Harmony Music Group Les Armes-Réunies, also recognizes that the uncertainty in the face of attendance decided them to cancel two or three weeks ago. “We didn’t have the assurance of making a profit. A person spends between 50 and 60 francs during a match. Suddenly, with ten or twenty people less, we already no longer meet our costs. “

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