Cantillon: National Lottery puts PR business out to tender

Tender notice comes as deadline for licence applications approaches

The closing date for the initial phase of procurement is September 17th, just one day after the provisional deadline for applications for the National Lottery licence itself.

The closing date for the initial phase of procurement is September 17th, just one day after the provisional deadline for applications for the National Lottery licence itself.

 

An Post’s National Lottery raised a few eyebrows this week by inviting tenders for its PR business smack bang in the middle of the Government’s high-profile licence competition.

With the next operator likely to want a say in who does its PR, the contract is being offered on a short-term basis only; essentially for the remaining months of the existing lottery licence which is due to expire next year.

However, the tender notice, posted on the eTenders website on Tuesday, dangled a carrot in front of prospective bidders by suggesting it might be extended for up to five years subject to agreement from the next licence holder.

The closing date for the initial phase of procurement is September 17th, just one day after the provisional deadline for applications for the National Lottery licence itself.

Instead of the rolling over the existing PR contract with Wilson Hartnell to cover the interregnum period between now and the beginning of the new lottery licence, which is commonly done in these circumstances, the National Lottery is seeking new blood.

It may have been obliged to do so under the existing regulations, or perhaps it wished to put its PR operation on a firmer footing ahead of the privatisation process.

Since the National Lottery was established in 1987, Dublin-based Wilson Hartnell has run the PR operation.

The firm has won praise for the success of the National Lottery’s Facebook page, which was set up in January 2012, and reached 50,000 likes six months ahead of target.

The page also won the ‘Best Facebook Page for a Business (Non Campaign)’ award at last year’s Social Media Awards and ‘Best Social Media Campaign’ at this year’s awards.

The Government is understandably remaining silent about the number of prospective bidders it has managed to rope into the ongoing licence process as the deadline for applications approaches.

We know of at least two definite bids at this stage; one involving An Post and UK operator Camelot, and the other involving US operator Gtech.

There is speculation, however, that Australian gaming giant Tatts may also be planning to enter the fray.

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