Howlin to publish new lottery Bill

Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 00:00

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin will tomorrow publish legislation overhauling the rules and regulations governing the national lottery.

Mr Howlin has already signalled his intention to relax the rules governing online sales in order to increase the saleability of the licence which will be auctioned off early next year.

Up the now the State’s lottery business, which is currently operated by An Post, has been severely restricted in its online operations, with players obliged to go through a cumbersome offline registration process.

As a result, less than 3 per cent of tickets sales come from the internet trade in contrast to other European lotteries where up to 15 per cent of the business is generated online.

The draft legislation governing the new licence, which was approved by Cabinet on Tuesday, will also set out various player safeguards including strict age-verification systems and self-exclusion opportunities to comply with responsible gambling norms.

Mr Howlin plans to award an extended 20-year licence to run the lottery to the winner of a bidding process scheduled to take place early next year.

“The objective of the licence competition is to procure a substantial up-front payment for the Irish State in return for granting an exclusive right to operate the Irish National Lottery for a 20-year period while still retaining significant annual revenues for good causes,” a spokeswoman for the department told The Irish Times.

“The department is working with financial advisers Davy to structure the new licence to ensure alignment of interests between good cause beneficiaries and the new operator.”

“Appropriate financial, probity, regulatory and other safeguards are being evaluated consistent with ensuring the operating flexibility (including product and channel development) required to facilitate growth over the 20-year licence period,” she added.

The new legislation will be brought before the Dáil in January. The existing licence, which was issued to current holder An Post in 2001, expires at the end of June next year.

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