Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Seán Fleming has said there are glaring omissions in the new National Lottery Bill 2012, published today, which the Government must clarify as a matter of urgency.

Deputy Fleming said: “The main issue that stands out in this legislation is lack of any commitment to ring-fence funding from the sale of the National Lottery licence for the building of the new National Children’s Hospital – a key promise of this government that must be kept.  Minister Brendan Howlin has made no reference to this in the legislation while at the same time half the bill deals with the rules and procedures for a new quango, the National Lottery Regulator.

“The new Regulator is also being given authority to impose an annual levy on the lottery operator to fund its own operations.  This amounts to nothing short of a blank cheque for the regulator and any additional costs for the operator will obviously be passed on to consumers.

“However what is also of concern to me are the provisions within the bill for the personal details of named prize winners to be passed on to the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection.  Is the government leaving the door open to potentially taxing lotto winnings?

Deputy Fleming concluded: “Given that the National Lottery licence does not have to be issued for six months tendering for the new licence should not proceed until the promised legislation on the Regulation of Lobbyists is in place so we can ensure openness and transparency and prevent undue influences behind closed doors during the process.”