Nine apply for adviser roles in lottery tendering process

Tue, Aug 28, 2012, 01:00

THE DEPARTMENT of Public Expenditure and Reform has received nine applications for the role of external advisers to the upcoming lottery tendering process.

The deadline for tenders closed at noon yesterday and the advisers are expected to be appointed in the second half of next month.

A spokeswoman said: “The advisers will be required to provide advice in relation to the structure of the competition as well as the evaluation of bids for the new licence.”

The Government intends to offer an extended 20-year lottery licence and an enhanced operator’s fee in return for an upfront payment, thought to be in region of €400 million.

The department expects to publish new legislation next month which will allow for the sale of the next lottery licence in advance of a bidding process scheduled to take place in October.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has signalled his intention to loosen the rules governing internet sales to make the licence more attractive to potential buyers.

The Government’s advisers will be tasked with valuing the licence as well as assessing potential bidder interest.

A request for tender for the role of external adviser, which was published in July, also outlined a number of secondary areas which should be considered in the context of a new licence.

The tender document asked prospective advisers to consider how the lottery’s unclaimed prize money, which amounted to €90 million over the past five years, should be dealt with. Until now, the unclaimed prize fund has been used by the National Lottery to top up jackpots and promote games and draws.

Under the rules, winners have a 90-day period in which to collect their prizes after the announced end of the game, after which time they forfeit any right to the prize.

In other countries, the unclaimed money has been redirected into the fund for good causes, which is to be set at 30.5 per cent of turnover under the new licensing terms.

The document also asked applicants to consider possible approaches to increasing revenue through “ancillary activities”.

The sale of mobile phone top-ups or similar products via the lottery’s technological infrastructure may prove controversial, however, as it will inevitably favour some firms over others.

The tender asked advisers to consider whether bidders for the licence should specify a technology solution as part of their initial bid or whether the successful bidder should be allowed to seek tenders from technology providers following the award of the licence.

The National Lottery Act, enacted in 1986, has been revised by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in consultation with the Attorney General.

The draft heads of the new National Lottery Bill were approved by Cabinet at its last meeting in July.

The Government’s advisers will not have much time to get up to speed with the process if the schedule of publishing the new legislation at the end of September and holding the competition in October is adhered to.