Howlin held talks over lottery licence
THE MINISTER for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, has confirmed that his officials have already met potential bidders of the next National Lottery licence.
The licence is believed to be worth in the region of €400 million in an upfront payment to the State.
In a written Dáil response to Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea TD, Mr Howlin has confirmed that his department is to advertise for consultants to assist in the process of selling the licence shortly.
Mr Howlin said: “Given the complexity of the process regarding the competition for the next licence, it will be necessary for my department to engage external advisers to assist it with the process. My department expects to publish a request for tenders for a consultancy contract shortly.
“The external advisers will be required, among other things, to provide advice to my department in relation to the structure of the competition, preparation of the necessary documentation and assistance in the process of evaluating applications/bids for the new licence.
He added: “During the past number of months, my officials have engaged with a number of key stakeholders in this process, including potential bidders for the licence and retailer organisations.”
The licence to be awarded is to be for a 20-year period and the Minister has already confirmed that the current holder of the licence – An Post – will tender for it again.
He said: “The ongoing provision of a fixed percentage of annual lottery turnover for good causes will be a condition of the licence.
“This percentage is to be retained at 30.5 per cent, which was the level that was achieved in 2011. The new licence will also involve an upfront payment to the State, with some of the payment being used to help fund the building of the proposed new national children’s hospital.
“Since April, my department has carried out a considerable amount of preparatory work for the competition. It will be necessary to revise the National Lottery Act, which was enacted in 1986.
“My department is currently carrying out the necessary preparatory work on the legislation in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General. I expect to be in a position to submit draft heads of a Bill for Government approval in the near future.”
An Post currently operates the lottery for an annual management fee of just under €3 million or 0.5 per cent of revenue.
The new licence will be awarded early next year to the winner of a bidding process, scheduled to begin in October.
Less than 3 per cent of Irish lottery tickets sales come from the internet trade in contrast to other European lotteries where 15 to 20 per cent of business is now generated online.