The operator of the Irish National Lottery – Premier Lotteries Ireland – has spent 96.7% of all unclaimed prizes in the last seven years on advertising and marketing.
As reported by The Irish Times, €124m has been left unclaimed by Irish National Lottery players since Premier Lotteries Ireland took over operations in 2015, working out as an average of €17.7m annually.
Under the licence agreement signed in 2014, the operator – a joint venture between An Post and the post company’s pension fund, as well as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan – is entitled to take any unclaimed prizes after an expiry period.
There is a stipulation, though, that the money must either be used for additional special draws and to top-up prizes for customers, or for marketing and advertising the Irish National Lottery.
However, there is no clause that specifies how much of the unclaimed cash should be used for each, and the private company has weighted it heavily in favour of advertising and marketing.
As revealed by the Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) – the state’s financial watchdog – Premier Lotteries Ireland spent €120m on ‘incremental marketing’ between 2015 and 2021.
Only €2m (1.5%) was allocated to top up the prize pot in those seven years, while the remaining €2m was left untouched.
Premier Lotteries Ireland – who reported record-breaking lottery ticket sales surpassing €1bn last year. – spent €405m for its 20-year licence in 2014.