National Lottery faces Joint Oireachtas Committee

RGDATA and the CSNA addressed the Oireachtas on the recent technical issues with Lotto machines that have affected their members

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13 March 2015 | 0

Premier Lotteries Ireland and the National Lottery Regulator were brought before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform this week to explain problems with the lottery system in recent months.

Retail associations RGDATA and the CSNA addressed the Oireachtas on the recent technical issues with Lotto machines that have affected their members considerably.

While recognising that RGDATA members are strong supporters of the National Lottery, RGDATA director general Tara Buckley  went on to outline the issues retailers were faced with since the new Lottery terminals have been installed.

She said that issues with Lotto machines were already starting to emerge late last year but that the scale of the problems that have emerged since have been significant and the response from the National Lottery has been poor.  She said problems included the operation of the new machines, the sensitivity of the scanning system and the system constantly freezing and having to be rebooted.

Buckley spoke of rumours that PLI was going to add numbers to its draw and raise ticket prices to try and make the lottery more profitable.

PLI chief executive Dermot Griffin said they wouldn’t rule out a price hike or increasing numbers in the lottery draw, but he said the company was focussed on its “transition programme” for now.

Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association chief executive Vincent Jennings said retailers’ biggest concerns were that “savings have been made and shavings have been made” in the lottery’s systems and technical support.

The CSNA said that the main concern for the association is the absence of a proper communication system from the Lottery to convey information to both retailers and customers when problems occur.

CSNA National Executive member Joe Tierney who is also a member of the National Lottery Agents Council was able to assure the members of the Committee that their  concerns were based upon a desire to sell the products which provide a direct and individual source of revenue, and was not an exercise in PLI-bashing.

Agents earn revenue from a 6% commission on the sales of lottery products and are also in receipt of an additional 1% commission for partaking in the payment of winning tickets.

The lotto draw was cancelled last month for the first time in its history because of issues with ticketing machines.

PLI, which is backed by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and An Post among others, paid €405 million for its 20-year licence.

 

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