The operator of the Irish National Lottery – Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) – has been criticised over its refusal to disclose key information on how it is supporting players.
As reported by the Irish Mirror, PLI refused to tell an Oireachtas Committee how many people were contacted or had their accounts cut off due to overspending.
CEO Andrew Alego confirmed there are spending limits in place for online lottery users, ensuring that people can spend no more than €75 a day, €300 a week and €900 a month.
However, when asked how many people had been contacted by phone or excluded, Alego said the information was “confidential” and only communicated to the Regulator of the National Lottery.
Sinn Féin Teachta Dála (TD) Imelda Munster also chastised PLI over “hardly doing anything to tackle possible gambling addiction in relation to scratch cards”.
Furthermore, the operator was criticised for not being able to tell members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) how much money it has spent on player welfare.
Alego said that it was “difficult to quantify” this figure as it had introduced a new ID verification programme and it was unclear if this had led to a drop in sales.
He added that he could not confirm if any more breaches had occurred of people who had sought self-exclusion.
“For all the good you do, you are negating it by your neglect for the welfare of those who are operating a system,” said Independent TD Verona Murphy.
Premier Lotteries Ireland has also come under fire after spending 96.7% of all unclaimed prizes in the last seven years on advertising and marketing.
The operator is entitled to take any unclaimed prizes after an expiry period, with the stipulation 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, it has been heavily weighted in favour of the latter, leading Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy to rebuke the operator for doing the “bare minimum”.