The Comptroller and Auditor General’s report found that the overwhelming majority of the National Lottery’s unclaimed prizes over the past seven years have been spent on advertising and promoting its games.
Prizes worth over €124 million were unclaimed from 2015 to the end of 2021, the report says, an average of €17.7 million per year.
Regulations state that this should be used to replenish game prize pools and to promote National Lottery games. They do not specify what percentage to allocate to each area.
The C&AG report found that over the past seven years, a staggering 98 percent of unclaimed prize money has been used for “the promotion of the National Lottery/and/or the lottery games.”
“Of this, 98 percent (or $122 million) was spent on incremental marketing, while the remaining 2 percent (under $2 million) was spent on top-up pricing,” the report reads.
Socialist Co-Chair Catherine Murphy joined the report’s call for further transparency to provide “additional information in the lottery regulator’s financial statements”.
“We are regularly bombarded with well-crafted National Lottery advertisements – online, on television and in print. The campaign’s latest message is that 90 percent are “going back into the community.”
“This could give the impression that lottery funds are being specifically used to improve communities and the people who live in them.
“In reality, only 29 percent goes to charity, with the rest coming from prizes, dealer commissions, ongoing charges and profits,” Deputy Murphy said.
The report shows that revenue from National Lottery games was $1 billion last year.
In response to recommending that the report should consider including additional information “that would enable users of the accounts to see that key provisions of the license are being met,” the National Lottery said, “That is not the purpose National Lottery financial accounts to provide information to enable users to see compliance with license terms”.
The National Lottery acknowledged “that transparency and understanding could be improved”.
https://www.independent.ie/news/national-lottery-tiny-fraction-of-124m-in-unclaimed-prize-money-used-to-top-up-games-and-majority-used-for-advertising-c-and-ag-report-finds-42030213.html National Lottery: A tiny fraction of €124 million in unclaimed prize money used to load up games, with the bulk going to advertising, the C&AG report finds