All but 2% of unclaimed National Lottery prize money goes into marketing, watchdog finds

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Just €354,000 of astir €18 cardinal successful unclaimed winnings connected the National Lottery each twelvemonth goes backmost into much prizes, the State’s spending watchdog has disclosed.

An probe by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Seamus McCarthy into the lottery relation accounts shows that winning lottery players failed to assertion much than €124 cardinal betwixt 2015 and 2021.

Under its contract, relation Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC indispensable usage unclaimed prize wealth for the promotion of the lottery, which raised €290 cardinal for the nationalist purse past year.

Appearing earlier the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, Mr McCarthy said the declaration specifies uncollected winnings indispensable beryllium utilized by the relation wrong a twelvemonth for further prizes and “some for marketing”.

Over the past six years, 98 per cent of the unclaimed prize wealth was spent connected “additional marketing” compared with conscionable 2 per cent connected “additional prizes”, Mr McCarthy told the hearing.

The C&AG study recommends further accusation beryllium added to yearly National Lottery accounts truthful radical “see much clearly” wherever the wealth is being spent, helium added.

Ticket income for the National Lottery person soared by 51 per cent betwixt 2015 and 2021, Mr McCarthy told the committee, rising from €670 cardinal to €1.1 billion.

Over the aforesaid play the proportionality of income allocated to prizes accrued from 55.6 per cent to 57.6 per cent.

Appearing earlier the committee for the archetypal time, regulator of the National Lottery Carol Boate – appointed successful October 2017 – said the publication to bully causes has accrued with income from €188 cardinal successful 2015 to €304 cardinal past year.

Labour TD Alan Kelly said the information that lone 2 per cent of unclaimed winnings goes backmost into much prizes “would beryllium very, precise astonishing to the nationalist astatine large”.

“From anybody looking successful connected this, that is not acceptable… to immoderate payer looking successful that is not acceptable,” helium said.

Mr Kelly said “obviously the licence needs to beryllium changed” arsenic it was “unfair”.

Ms Boate responded that the “the wording” of the declaration “doesn’t prescribe immoderate peculiar proportion” of however the unclaimed wealth is spent “so determination is nary relation for maine successful determining the proportionality they allocate betwixt those 2 amounts”.

It had “crossed my caput whether it was compliant with the licence” and “I checked whether oregon not it required maine to guarantee a peculiar proportion, but it doesn’t,” she added.

Ms Boate said yet the full plan of the licence to run the National Lottery is simply a substance for the Oireachtas and immoderate changes to the declaration to importune connected much unclaimed wealth going backmost into prizes “would magnitude to a renegotiation of the licence.”

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