Lotto’s Canadian overlords appear to lose patience with PR team after bad press

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan said to be fuming at constant negative media coverage

The Dublin branch of Edelman had been handling the lottery’s PR until recently, but questions to the press office yesterday were redirected to rival PR firm Hume Brophy, suggesting that Edelman may have been sidelined in the wake of recent controversies.   Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Dublin branch of Edelman had been handling the lottery’s PR until recently, but questions to the press office yesterday were redirected to rival PR firm Hume Brophy, suggesting that Edelman may have been sidelined in the wake of recent controversies. Photograph: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

 

The National Lottery’s paymaster in Canada appears to have lost patience with its public relations team in Dublin following the continual bad press of recent weeks. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), owner of British operator Camelot, which stumped up the €405 million to buy the franchise, is said to be fuming at the negative media coverage of the lottery’s new ticket terminals and the recent telecommunications outages.

The Dublin branch of Edelman had been handling the lottery’s PR until recently, but questions to the press office yesterday were redirected to rival PR firm Hume Brophy, suggesting that Edelman may have been sidelined in the wake of recent controversies.

Last night PLI issued a statement saying Edelman continues to be its public relations adviser but that Hume Brophy continues to provide ongoing PR support on specific corporate issues.

Hume Brophy, which represented the OTPP-led consortium during the bidding phase before it morphed into the lotto’s new operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), declined to comment.

Since the installation of a new technology platform late last year, the National Lottery has been getting it in the neck from retailers over the performance of its new ticket terminals.

However, that was nothing compared with the furore that erupted when the system crashed last month, causing the cancellation of the weekly jackpot draw for the first time in 28 years.

The National Lottery blamed its telecommunications provider, Telefonica, but couldn’t deter many commentators from raising questions over the new operator’s competency and the policy of privatising the franchise in the first place.

Since then there have been several more outages on a more minor scale.

It’s not obvious how a PR team could have changed the narrative in the face of such technology blow-outs but it seems the OTPP bosses in Canada needed a fall guy.

Premier Lotteries and the new lotto regulator are to appear before the Oireachtas Finance Committee tomorrow.