Minister's plan to phase out charity lotteries challenged

Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 00:00

A High Court challenge has been brought to the Minister for Justice’s decision to phase out and ultimately abolish funding for private charities which run lotteries.

The Rehab Group and Rehab Lotteries Ltd claim the decision by Alan Shatter last month to phase out funding to private charitable lotteries under the Charitable Lotteries Scheme (CLS) damages their ability to help those with disabilities.

The scheme was set up in the mid-1990s to compensate private charities for the advantage the National Lottery had over them.

Rehab is the largest beneficiary of the scheme and claims it will suffer the “greatest adverse impact” from its abolition. Charities received €6 million under the scheme in 2011, of which €4.4 million went to Rehab, which operates lotteries and scratch card games.

Mr Justice Michael Peart yesterday granted leave to bring the judicial review proceedings.

Paul Gardiner SC said Rehab’s share of the lotteries market was 25 per cent before the National Lottery began in 1987 and was now 1 per cent. The money paid to Rehab under the CLS scheme came from the National Lottery and not from Government funds, he added.