Irish National Lottery Squares Up To Competition

Rejects Lottoland-myLotto24 report that betting on outcomes poses no threat

The Irish National Lottery has rejected a Jim Power report commissioned by secondary lotteries Lottoland and myLotto24 which found that online betting on the outcome of lotto draws poses no threat to the National Lottery.

Economist Jim Power found that online competition from independent companies from the European Lotto Betting Association and other rivals is in fact a healthy competitive influence for the sector.

“It is factually incorrect to argue, or indeed lobby, on the premise that online lottery betting, which is fully licensed in this jurisdiction, presents any threat to the good causes funding generated by National Lottery sales each year,” the Power claimed.

“In fact, based on 2017 figures provided by the three leading European Lotto Betting Association members licensed and active in Ireland, their total combined draw-based betting turnover was only Euro 1.4 million, 0.25 percent of the Euro 559 million draw based sales turnover achieved by Premier Lotteries Ireland in the same period.

“Contrary to previous media coverage, rather than damaging good causes funding, the long-term presence of these operators should actually have a beneficial impact by creating more competition, choice and innovation in what might otherwise be effectively a monopolised market.

“Moreover, increased competition in the digital channel is an essential aspect in achieving long-term sustainability for good causes funding.”

The Power report rather provocatively observes: “It is reasonable to expect that the holder of a national licence, no matter the market, would provide product offerings in line with changing consumer trends but what is prevalent with the National Lottery licence in Ireland since it was awarded nearly five years ago is an operator with a sales strategy massively at odds with such trends.”

A spokesperson for the National Lottery said the organisation “rejects the claim that offshore, bet-on-lottery operators pose no threat to National Lottery Good Causes funding”.

“They are not playing to the same strict rules we abide by and, as evidenced in other jurisdictions, are a serious threat,” the spokesman said, adding that the Power report “demonstrates an inherent lack of understanding of the National Lottery”, and the legislative and regulatory framework in which it operates.

“More than Euro 5.3 billion has been raised for good causes in Ireland since the National Lottery was set up 31 years ago, money that has transformed communities right across the country,” he said.

“Premier Lotteries Ireland has recorded three consecutive years of growth in funds generated for good causes since it won the licence – Euro 188 million in 2015; Euro 213.3 million in 2016 and Euro 226.3 million in 2017.

“Contrary to what the report suggests in relation to our digital channel, growth in digital is an important part of our strategy to bring the National Lottery to a new generation of adult players. Regular active online players grew from 81,000 in 2016 to almost 97,000 by the end of 2017.”