Belfast Telegraph

National Lottery urged to appear before committee over scratch card scandal

Fianna Fail said there are ‘serious questions’ for the National Lottery as 180,000 euro in prizes were not included for five years.

The National Lottery has apologised after the exclusion of the prizes (Brian Lawless/PA)
The National Lottery has apologised after the exclusion of the prizes (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

Fianna Fail has said Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) should appear before an Oireachtas Finance committee to explain a 180,000 euro scratch card error.

The National Lottery has apologised after the exclusion of four top prizes totalling 180,000 euro from three scratch card games dating back to 2014.

The National Lottery operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) found that the prizes were not included for players to win in three out of 178 scratch card games the National Lottery has offered since taking over the licence in 2014.

New controls are now in place to ensure this does not happen again National Lottery CEO Andrew Algeo

The National Lottery says the omissions were caused by human error and did not affect Lotto, EuroMillions, Daily Millions, digital games and all other National Lottery products.

The Regulator of the National Lottery was notified of the review and has been regularly updated since.

In a statement, National Lottery CEO Andrew Algeo said: “New controls are now in place to ensure this does not happen again. We would like to reassure our players by pointing out that the total amount involved is less than 0.01% of all our prizes of the last five years. The total value of the missing prizes will now be made available to our players through a special draw.”

Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Finance, Michael McGrath said that the revelation raises very serious questions for both the lottery operator PLI and the national lottery regulator.

Mr McGrath has suggested that both PLI and the regulator be invited to come before the Oireachtas Finance Committee to face questions on the issue.

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Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Finance, Michael McGrath (Niall Carson/PA)

He said: “Today’s revelation will undoubtedly damage public trust and confidence in the national lottery. Without the trust of the general public, the success of the national lottery is far from guaranteed. The fact that these prizes were not on offer for the past five years raises very serious questions for the national lottery.

“Given that PLI says it learned of this issue six weeks ago, it is incredible they allowed these scratch cards to continue in circulation with the information they had. It would appear that the regulator did not make this discovery and they too have questions to answer to. The regulator needs to investigate how this issue did not surface until six weeks ago.

Mr McGrath has written to the chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee proposing that the lottery operator PLI and the regulator be invited to appear to answer questions at the earliest possible date.

He said: “I also think that – instead of rolling this 180,000 euro of prizes into another lottery special draw – there is a strong argument that this money should be donated to deserving charitable causes immediately.”

PA

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