Fianna Fáil Spokesperson Public Expenditure and Reform Seán Fleming TD has called on the Government to adopt Fianna Fáil’s legislation establishing a Register of Lobbyists in advance of any sale of the National Lottery licence.
Deputy Fleming said: “The timeframe put forward by Minister Howlin today raises a number of concerns. It is not clear that the Government plans to have legislation in place to establish a Register of Lobbyists before the sale of the National Lottery licence for 20 years. The Government should immediately move to accept our legislation on this and ensure there is full transparency in this process.
“It is also unclear if inviting applications for this lucrative licence in October and awarding it next January will secure the best price for the State. The Government said there would be no sale of State assets until the best price could be achieved and we intend to hold them to that.”
Deputy Fleming said: “The legislation to be brought forward following the Government’s decision will have to include strict provisions, including:
– That the 30.5% which is to be retained for good causes will not be siphoned off by Government Departments to supplement their own budgets, and a list must be published each year of the specific projects which will be benefit from this funding
– That the percentage of the prize fund must be specified in legislation to ensure that the new operator of the National Lottery cannot dip into the prize fund to enhance their own profits
– The new operator will have one objective i.e. profit, measures will have to be introduced to ensure we do not encourage excessive betting by the inclusion of daily or hourly draws
Deputy Fleming said: “Securing much needed funds for the National Children’s Hospital is extremely important and we support the principle of funding the hospital through the National Lottery.
“Legislation to underpin the sale of the National Lottery will also have to be very tight regarding online betting. It will have to ensure no under 18s can participate; that there are spending limits per player; and that no player can have multiple betting accounts so as to avoid betting addiction.”