Lottery licence up for tender


THE LICENCE to operate the National Lottery from 2012 onwards will be put out to tender next spring, after the Government agreed to extend the current licence, held by An Post, for another year.

An Post National Lottery Company will run the lottery at least until the end of 2011, giving the Department of Finance time to hold an international tender process, which will allow firms from across the European Economic Area (EEA) to bid for the licence.

The department said it would begin the tender process next spring and that it expected there would be international interest in the licence.

The one-year extension of the current licence will mean the department has sufficient time to both complete the tender process and, if necessary, give a new lottery operator enough time to get up and running.

The extension of the licence, which had already been extended by two years, means that An Post's current contract to operate the lottery will run for the maximum period of 10 years.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance said the cost of running a competition to award the licence was quite high, both for the department and the companies that tender, meaning it was preferable not to have a competition more often than necessary.

An Post has operated the National Lottery since its inception in 1987 and is expected to re-apply to retain the licence.

Public tender rules mean the competition must be open to companies from the 27 EU member states and EEA members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The Camelot Group, which runs the British national lottery, has ruled itself out of the running for the Irish licence as it was recently appointed to run the UK lottery until 2019.

Lotto tickets and scratch card tickets worth €778.5 million were sold by more than 3,600 retail agents in the Republic last year.