A TD asked about Premier Lotteries’ finances and said Lotto ‘must have the support of the people’.
Political MP for Kildare North, Bernard Durkan, has tabled a parliamentary question asking for information on the value of ticket sales, the total amount of prizes paid out and the amount spent on advertising during 2021.
On Saturday, the historic jackpot of 19.06 million euros was won in an unmissable draw after being capped since October, ending a rolling streak of 63.
In November, Deputy Durkan infamously called for an investigation into the “unwinnable jackpot”, sparking a national debate over why six numbers had not been matched since June.
He told Dublin Live after Saturday’s draw that we “have to wait and see how things develop over the next two months”.
He said: “The problem that has prevailed for seven months has apparently been resolved, but I think we have to see how it will work in the future.
“After all, for the first six months of the year in 2021, there was a reasonable mix of wins and non-wins, which is easily expected. But over the following six months, until ‘at the end of the year, there was no winning situation for the main prize and no one won it.
“And whatever the cause of that, other than gambling which is regularly called the reason for such discrepancies, I think we have to wait and see how things develop over the next two months and see what happens. .”
He said a new system allowing more people to share the jackpot should be considered in the future.
“However, a number of people have mentioned that they would rather see instead of one person receiving 19 million as happened in this particular case, they would rather see maybe 20 or 40 people receiving a million or a half a million.
“I think there is one area we can look at in the future because this lottery depends on people’s support and people support it for the many good causes it supports.
“The Lottery must have the support of the people and the goodwill of the people, on the basis that people will support it as long as they understand how it works and as long as they know their money can be put to good use.”
Deputy Durkan said he welcomed the new rule that a mandatory draw would take place five draws after a jackpot was capped and said it was a resolution to what s happened in the last seven months.
However, he said “I’m not so sure that’s the ultimate answer.”
TD is awaiting a response to its request to Premier Lotteries for details of their advertising spend and finances next week.
He said: “We asked when the chief executive and the regulator appeared before the finance committee, we asked those questions, but the information was not available at the time, but I assume it will be available for question time, answer to written questions next week.
“And then we will be in a better position to see and conclude whether or not what happened is the ultimate answer to the problem that has apparently arisen.”
He said there was no suggestion that anything inappropriate had happened, but “the problem arose in the sense that the general public became increasingly concerned about whether or not the Lottery was working from the intended way.
“And that wasn’t enough, just to say ‘look, it’s a game of chance, you take a chance’ and so on. It’s a different type of game of chance. It’s a game of chance where people patriotically support (it), whose profits go to very many good causes across the country.
“It relies on the goodwill of people.”
The Fine Gael politician said he did not expect the huge national response to his initial call for an inquiry into the National Lottery last November.
“I didn’t. It was because someone had already said to me, ‘Where have all the winners gone?’ year, it was a reasonable transaction and seemed correct.
“But the next six, seven months, something happened in the sense that the game of chance didn’t seem to recognize that luck should have come to some of the punters at some point.
“Two or three weeks went by without a win, maybe. But after that we have to start explaining why it wasn’t working the way people thought.
“I go back to the people in all of this. It’s a voluntary thing, people donate voluntarily, and you could say yes, it could benefit them and they could win. That’s right, they could.
“But for almost seven months they didn’t win.”
Deputy Durkan revealed that he had not purchased a ticket for Saturday’s draw.
“I wouldn’t be a great player now. Like everyone else, I support good causes to the best of my ability. I might go to the races once or twice a year, I might have a few bets but I would always operate on the basis that you could win, that’s right, but you could also lose.
“Winning is fun, losing is not so fun.”
Dublin Live has contacted the National Lottery for comment.
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