Competition authority official to become new lotto watchdog

Carol Boate will take up her new role as the National Lottery’s regulator next week

Much of Boate’s role is expected to be taken up with monitoring the lotto’s expansion online. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A senior official from the State’s competition authority has been appointed as the National Lottery’s new regulator.

Carol Boate, who was until recently the director of corporate services with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, will take up her new role as the lotto's watchdog next week.

She replaces former compliance consultant Liam Sloyan, who steps down after three years in the job.

The legislation governing the lottery was overhauled in 2014 as a prelude to privatising the business. It provides for a regulator to monitor and enforce compliance by the operator.


This means Ms Boate will able to veto new games if they do not meet safe gaming standards or price rises if she feels they are undue.

A spokeswoman for the National Lottery said: "We welcome the appointment of the new regulator and we look forward to working with her."

New balls, please

The lottery’s regulator sanctioned a change to the playing format, which saw two numbers added to the original 45-number matric, and a price hike back in 2015.

Much of Ms Boate’s role is expected to be taken up with monitoring the lotto’s expansion online, which had been heavily restricted under the old licence.

The National Lottery’s newly revamped website currently has about 20 instant-win games that generate big sales for the business.

She will be tasked with ensuring these games remain within the safe-gaming protocols, and also that the lotto keeps strict controls on how much time and money players spend online.

Last week the National Lottery reported a 12 per cent increase in turnover to €750 million for last year and a plan to increase its footprint nationally by rolling out its games in supermarkets and discount stores, such as Aldi and Lidl.

The increase in turnover reverses several years of falling sales associated with a general downturn in Irish retail.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times