OTPP reportedly evaluating Premier Lotteries Ireland sale

Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) could soon be on the market with 10 years left on its licence according to UK and Irish media, which have reported that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) is looking at a sale.

A potential auction for the OTPP’s Irish holding would further rollback the investment group’s presence in European lotteries, with PLI having been the licence holder for the Irish National Lottery since 2014, having signed a 20-year contract at a cost of €405m.

According to one report which has been circulated across various media, OTPP has hired Swiss bank UBS to advise on a potential sale of PLI, but neither the company nor its Irish lotto subsidiary have made any official statement on the matter.

The Irish Times was able to quote a PLI spokesperson, who informed the outlet: “Any discussion regarding the ownership structure is a question for the shareholders and not something that we are in a position to comment on.

“PLI is wholly committed to delivering its core purpose, to operate a responsible and world-class lottery for the people of Ireland, raising much-needed good cause funds for the benefit of local communities throughout Ireland.”

A sell-off would also closely follow developments on the other side of the Irish Sea, which saw formerly-OTPP-owned Camelot UK’s tenure as operator of the UK National Lottery end after 30 years.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) awarded the fourth 10-year licence to the National Lottery to multi-national lottery operator Allwyn, ending Camelot’s sole tenure as operator of the lottery.

Following the Commission’s decision, Camelot mounted a legal challenge against it, but this was later dropped after Allwyn secured terms with the OTPP to acquire its UK lottery holding.

This was finalised in early February, exactly one year before Allwyn is due to take over full management of the lottery in 2024, with the transition period having been initiated this year.

OTPP would later fully offload its entire UK lottery network to Allwyn, selling the Camelot Lottery Solutions (Camelot LS) group, with all companies involved becoming subsidiaries of the incoming operator. 

Should media reports be accurate, it appears that in the aftermath of its UK rollback, the OTPP is reassessing the status of PLI and the Irish National Lottery in its investment portfolio.

For any potential buyers, the Irish National Lottery could pose a potentially lucrative transaction, with PLI reporting total revenue of over €1bn for the first time in 2021, with €878.6m in retail sales and €175.1m in digital sales.

With 10 years left on PLI’s contract over the Irish National Lottery, any incoming buyer would be able to assume immediate management of this operation. 

It is unclear at this time whether Allwyn, having established itself in Ireland’s westerly neighbour as well as in Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, will be interested in a takeover bid.