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Extra National Lottery Money To Go To Coronavirus Health Effort

Last Updated: Thursday 2nd April 2020, 09:16 am

More than €16 million of National Lottery money will be given to the Irish Exchequer so that it can be distributed to good causes working in the health sector during the coronavirus crisis. The news has been welcomed by both government ministers and National Lottery officials.

Ordinarily, the National Lottery donates a percentage of its revenue from ticket sales to good causes in several areas – such as sports, arts and heritage. Any unclaimed prizes are kept and used by the lottery for promotional purposes.

However, there has been a dispute for several years over what should happen to the historic unclaimed prizes which were present when Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) took over operations in 2014 after the National Lottery was privatised.

PLI have previously argued that they should be allowed to use the money, while the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform maintained that it should go straight to good causes as it was generated by An Post, the previous licensee. These historic unclaimed prizes amounted to just over €16 million.

Unprecedented National Crisis

The National Lottery Regulator has now intervened to make a ruling and determine that the full amount should go back to the Exchequer. It will then be redistributed as quickly as possible to help support organisations which are battling against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, said: “I am pleased that the €16 million of historic expired prizes has become available to support investments in health at a time of unprecedented national crisis due to COVID-19.”

National Lottery CEO Andrew Algeo said:  “All of us at the National Lottery are delighted to see this €16 million used to improve health in our communities. PLI has been pleased to work together with the Regulator to make these funds available at this time.

“Thanks to our players the National Lottery raised over €250m for thousands of Good Causes in 2019 and perhaps more than ever, plays a vital role in supporting clubs, charities and great causes across the country.”

The National Lottery has raised more than €5.5 billion since it was launched in 1987 and is set to continue generating money during the current crisis, with draws still going ahead as scheduled. Go to the Coronavirus page to find out more about how you can play despite the current restrictions, and why it is safest to play online.

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