More than €17million in unclaimed lottery prizes was last year handed back to the operator.

Since 2015, €124million has been transferred to Premier Lotteries Ireland.

Last year’s figure is on a par with the €17million that went unwon in 2020.

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A total of €19million was unclaimed in 2019 and this was preceded by €19million in 2018, €16million in 2017, €16million in 2016 and €20million in 2015.

In a written Dail response on the issue, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD told Fianna Fail’s John McGuinness TD that in accordance with the lottery licence, the full value of the €17.054million for 2021 is to be spent solely on promoting the National Lottery.

Minister McGrath stated: “The percentage of the €17.054million that will be spent on incremental marketing and advertising, and the percentage that will be used for special draws or additional top up prizes in 2022, is not yet known.”

The minister added that the lottery operator considers, in this regard, that details of the percentages of the 2021 spend on incremental marketing and advertising, and on special draws or additional top up prizes is commercially sensitive under the licence and is not to be disclosed.

Minister McGrath stated it is further noted the Lottery Regulator is required under a clause in the licence to seek the operator’s consent to release such information and “consent has not been forthcoming in this instance”.

At a Dail Finance committee on the operation of the national lottery last December, Deputy McGuinness described the €90million that the lottery
operator used to promote itself between 2015 and 2020 as a “fantastic amount”.

He said yesterday: “There is a distinct lack of clarity and transparency around the National Lottery’s operations, budget and promotional activity which the government, Regulator, or PLI seem minded to address.”

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