Bulk of €124 million in unclaimed prize money spent on advertising and promotion, according to report

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy has welcomed recommendations contained in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report on the Accounts of the Public Services for 2021 relating to oversight of the National Lottery’s finances.

Deputy Murphy, who is vice-chair of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, said:

“The C&AG’s report indicates that it is not clear whether key provisions of the Lotto’s operating licence are being complied with.

“Between 2015 and 2021, the National Lottery’s operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland Limited, retained over €124 million in unclaimed prizes. Of this amount, the operator spent almost €122 million on promotion and advertising, with the remainder going back into the prize fund.

“The report published by the C&AG today gives some real insights into the way in which the National Lottery is managed.

“Among the report’s recommendations is that the National Lottery regulator should provide additional information in the financial statements to enhance the transparency of the National Lottery Fund.

“I hope the recommendations, when adopted, will provide us with an opportunity to properly examine the fund from an operational and accounting perspective.

“We are regularly bombarded with slickly produced National Lottery advertising – online, on television and in print. The latest campaign message is that 90 percent ‘goes back to into the community’. This could give the impression that lotto monies are being targeted at improving communities and the people who live in them.

“In reality, just 29 percent goes to good causes, with the balance taken up by prizes, retailers’ commissions, running costs and profit.”

September 30, 2022

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