Thursday 18 January 2018

Consortium wins Lotto licence after €405m deal

National Lottery. Lotto
National Lottery. Lotto

Sam Griffin and  Shane Phelan

AN POST and the operators of the UK National Lottery are in line for a €405m buyout of the lottery here after Public Expenditure Minister said the consortium was the preferred applicant.

Brendan Howlin said the bid by Premier Lotteries Ireland – which was the highest submitted – had met the requirements.

Premier Lotteries Ireland is a consortium consisting of An Post and its pension funds and the Camelot group, which operates the UK lottery.

The €405m payment will be payable in two instalments, the second of which will be made in October next year.

Filings at the Companies Office reveal the company Premier Lotteries Ireland was established here in May.

A statement from Mr Howlin's department confirmed that under the new lottery licence, the ongoing annual contribution to good causes would be set at 65pc of Gross Gaming Revenues. These revenues are defined as sales minus prizes. Current arrangements for retailer commission would be maintained, it added.

The minister expressed his "satisfaction with this milestone in moving towards the next National Lottery licence".

Earlier yesterday, Robert Watt, secretary general at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, told the Dail's Public Accounts Committee that the lottery sale was imminent.

He also said the sale of Bord Gais Energy was also expected to be announced by December. The sales come as part of an agreement between the Government and the troika to raise €3bn from the sell-off of state assets.

Last night, a spokesperson for An Post declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent. The An Post National Lottery Company currently holds the lottery licence.

Earlier TDs voiced concerns for the future of staff at both the Lotto and Bord Gais Energy, asking if their jobs would be safeguarded through redeployment or transferring to the new owners.

"From the perspective of the employees, of course we are aware of their concerns and we are aware of the uncertainty," said Mr Watt.

He said he understood staff at Bord Gais Energy had the option of being transferred elsewhere in the company, but said it was an issue for the management and worker representatives to thrash out.

Irish Independent

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