Lotto bidders told to give advice on unclaimed prizes
EXTERNAL consultants to advise the Government on the sale of the National Lottery licence are to submit proposals on how millions of euro in unclaimed prizes should be dealt with.
In the past five years, €90m in lottery prizes and jackpots have gone unclaimed from the National Lottery.
The unclaimed pot currently stands at €15.2m and the unclaimed windfalls from last year include a €250,000 Lotto Plus 2 prize, sold in Gorey, Co Wexford.
Advertising for tenders to advise on the sale of the new 20-year licence, which is expected to net the Government about €400m, shows the Department of Public Expenditure is asking: "How should unclaimed prizes be dealt with in the context of the next licence?"
Presently, unclaimed prize money is used by the National Lottery to promote various games and draws.
The largest unclaimed prize on record was for a €3.4m jackpot from June 30, 2001. Despite a campaign to find the winner on 2FM's 'Gerry Ryan Show', nobody ever came forward.
The tender also inquires about new approaches to increasing Lotto revenue, including via ancillary activities.
The current licence, operated by An Post, expires next June.
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin recently confirmed that his officials have already met with potential bidders of the next licence, while also confirming that An Post will tender for the licence.
The department is demanding that the consultants provide advice on the valuation of the licence, and an analysis of international market conditions and potential bidder interest.
Bidders are also expected to provide advice on the structure of the competition for the award of the licence.
The consultants are expected to prepare key documents for the competition that includes the draft licence and the draft invitation to apply.
Bidders for the contract to advise on the licence have until August 27 to lodge a tender, and the process is expected to take eight months to complete. Only firms with an annual turnover of €3m can apply.
Lotto sales have fallen sharply in the recession, with revenue from sales of tickets and scratch cards dropping from €840m in 2008 to €761m last year.