Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Seán Fleming says the increased costs for people having a flutter on the Lotto is a direct result of the privatisation of the National Lottery by the Government.  Not only is the price of a ticket being increased, the addition of two new numbers into the draw will lessen the chances of players winning the jackpot.

Deputy Fleming commented, “Since the operation of the National Lottery was handed over to Premier Lotteries Ireland last year, we have seen a litany of problems including the first ever cancellation of a lotto draw after machines broke down in February this year.  Now we see price increases being brought in, while the chances of winning the main prize are being reduced.

“Fianna Fáil warned of the consequences of privatising the National Lottery when the idea was put forward by the Government. However, it ignored these concerns and pushed ahead with the process.  Ministers gave a commitment that €200m from the sale of the lottery licence would go towards the new National Children’s Hospital.  Almost one year later we have a diminished service, irritated customers, increased prices, and less chance of winning.  A planning application for the new hospital has not even been lodged and the money received has since been spent on reducing the national debt.

“During the course of this privatisation process, this Government set up another new quango in the form of the Lottery Regulator.  This was an unnecessary decision by the Government, as it should have kept direct control of this area in the public interest.

“It is not good enough that people are now being expected to pay more for less.  The Government has serious questions to answer about its decision to sell off what was once a strong, reputable brand that provided enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of citizens and in turn enjoyed widespread public support”.