Lotto sales hit €800m as online channel recruits more users
Strong performance sees Irish franchise generate €226m for good causes last year
Tara Kelly from Beaumont “wins” €250,000 on the Winning Streak wheel, with the help of Kamal Ibrahim and Marty Whelan, when the National Lottery made its props available to the public for Culture Night. Photograph: Dave Meehan
National Lottery sales have hit €800 million for the first time since the crash amid a strong pick-up in revenue from its online channel.
The franchise, which is run by Canadian-owned operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), saw revenue from ticket and scratch card sales rise by 7 per cent to €800.2 million in 2017.
This generated €226 million for good causes, up from €213 million the previous year.
The business said it created 20 millionaires in the Republic last year while paying out a total €452 million in prizes, up from €422 million in 2016.
Draw-based games, which include the lottery’s main twice-weekly draws and the Friday EuroMillions draw, generated sales of €559 million.
The strong performance was also driven by the company’s online channel and mobile app which generated record sales of €52 million.
The number of regular online players was just under 97,000, up from 81,000 in 2016.
The National Lottery was freed to trade online as part of the 2014 privatisation process, which resulted in the business being sold to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which owns PLI, for €405 million.
Previously, the business was restricted from advertising its online channel and players wishing to play via the internet were subject to a cumbersome registration process.
The latest results show there were 12 lotto jackpot winners who shared over €71 million in 2017.
The biggest win – €12.8 million – was won by a Dublin syndicate in March, 2017. Three Irish EuroMillions jackpot winners also shared €156.4 million in prize money between them.
Retailers are wary that opening up the online channel will cannibalise their lotto retail sales but the results show the lottery’s retail network expanded from 5,290 to 5,663 outlets during the year. The amount paid to retailers in commission last year also rose to €49 million from €46 million previously.
The jump in lotto sales also saw PLI’s operating profit rise by 6 per cent to €17.4 million last year.
Commenting on the results, PLI chief executive Dermot Griffin said: “We are delighted that the return to good causes from National Lottery sales registered an increase for the second consecutive year, with €226.3 million going to communities all over Ireland.”