Charities fear that they will ultimately lose out if Lotto sales fall due to price hikes of tickets.
The new operators of the National Lottery – Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) – were slammed for the “grossly unfair” hike in the cost.
Consumers have less chance of becoming a millionaire with the new changes. Odds have increased from eight million to one to almost 11 million to one, as two new numbers have been added to the mix.
The Jack and Jill Foundation, which receives €75,000 a year from the Lotto, said they were “concerned this hike in the price of lotto tickets will deter people from purchasing”.
Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of The Wheel, a national network representing 1,150 charities, warned: “When the new licence was awarded to Premier Lotteries Ireland, charities were assured that while they will be getting a smaller percentage of the income, the overall income from the National Lottery will increase, thus offsetting any losses incurred by charities. We expect this commitment to be honoured.”
Oireachtas Finance Committee chairman Liam Twomey has described the “double whammy” of a Lotto price hike and additional numbers as “grossly unfair”, adding the company raised the possibility of a price increase when the company was before his committee earlier this year.
However, he said he was “surprised” it was being introduced at the same time as extra numbers being added. The Wexford TD said it was “highly likely” the company will be called before the committee hearing over the issue.
A spokesman for the National Lottery Regulator said they had taken several factors into account, including any impact on the reputation or sustainability of the National Lottery, as well as “player protection” and “the impact on funds raised for good causes”.
“We discussed all of the issues with them and they have outlined their decisions and processes. We were satisfied that they had fulfilled the criteria,” she said.
However, lottery bosses admitted that a drop in sales would result in a corresponding reduction in funding for charitable groups.
They currently receive almost 30pc of the revenue from the game and scratch cards as part of the National Lotteries policy.
A spokeswoman said the company’s significant trading loss last year was not factored into its decision to raise prices. The firm made a pre-tax loss of €17.4m in the period from May, 2013 to the end of December.