Monday 25 September 2017

Adviser to handle Lotto sale in weeks

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The Government will appoint an adviser to handle the €400m to €600m sale of the new National Lottery licence within weeks.

In response to a question a spokeswoman for Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said it expected to be in a position to appoint advisers by the middle of this month.

The timing is later than expected when a tender for the work was published in July. It means the process to sell the lottery licence itself is unlikely to begin before the end of October, as initially scheduled.

Mr Howlin formally announced plans to auction the rights to run the National Lottery back in May. In August nine firms applied for the contract to act as external advisers on the lottery tendering process.

The winning tender will advise on the best way to structure a competitive bidding process for the licence, as well as helping to evaluate bids received.

Money raised has been earmarked for development of the National Children's Hospital, which was given the greenlight to go ahead on a site at Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

The money will be raised through the sale of a 20-year licence to run the lottery games in exchange for an upfront fee hoped to be up to €600m.

Draft heads of a bill establishing a legal framework for the new licence went to the Cabinet in July.

The auction process cannot get under way without the legislation.

Last year, sales fell 1.3pc to €761.4m, almost 10pc off their 2008 peak.

An Post runs the system for a relatively small fee, which means it can hand over 30c of every euro sold to the "good causes" the lottery was set up to support. Last year it handed 55pc of all cash raised back to customers in prizes.

Irish Independent

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