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National Lottery Ticket Costs Set To Rise From Next Month

The cost of playing the now three-year-old, privatised National Lottery is set to rise from next month, with officials confirming the second price-hike in less than three years. This hike follows on from the company’s increase of 50 cent per line and the adding of two extra numbers, making the Lottery statistically much harder to win.

While the National Lottery has stressed that there will be no change in the price of a ticket for the main Lotto draw; Lotto Plus, Lotto Plus 1, and Lotto Plus 2 are all set to increase considerably. From September 1st, the price of a two-line ticket with Lotto Plus will go from €5 to €6, and the cost of entering Plus 1 and 2 draws will double, going from 50 cent to €1 per line.

The Canadian-owned Premier Lotteries Ireland said that they are bringing the prize for Plus 1 from €500,000 to €1 million, and that they are going to be adding in extra prizes. People who only play the main draw will be unaffected with the cost set to stay at €4 for two lines.

In 2011, in response to Ireland’s financial crisis, the government included the National Lottery licence amongst the other collection of silver to be flogged off cheaply; to assist the Irish public finances. In April 2012, the government then announced that it would sell the National Lottery licence for a period of 20 years for an upfront payment, while ensuring that 30% of lottery sales would still go to fund its designated good causes nominated by government.  The licence was valued at between €200 and €600 million, with some estimates putting its value in the region of €500 million.

In May 2013, the Irish government enacted the National Lottery Act 2013, with this enactment allowing for the sale of the National Lottery licence and providing for the establishment of a new independent lottery regulator, who would in turn eliminate some restrictions on Internet gambling, to allow for the growth of online lottery sales. The legislation also added the Natural Environment to its list of ‘good causes’, eligible to receive National Lottery funding.

On October 3rd 2013, Labour Minister Mr Brendan Howlin announced that the government had agreed to sell the National Lottery licence for €405 million, to Premier Lotteries Ireland, latter a consortium comprising of An Post, An Post pension funds, and the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (owner of the Camelot Group, operators of the UK National Lottery).  Mr Dermot Griffin, head of the An Post National Lottery Company since 2006, was appointed chief executive of Premier Lotteries Ireland. Other existing senior management were also retained. Executives from the Camelot Group, the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, and An Post were appointed to the board of the new company.

The current chances of winning the Lotto jackpot are calculated at 1 in 8,145,060. This means that if everyone in Ireland bought a single ticket tonight, each with different numbers, there is still roughly a 50% chance that no-one will win.

This action by Premier Lotteries Ireland now further confirms, as if confirmation was needed, that playing our National Lottery is only for “mugs and dreamers”, with the wise punter steering his/her money into the purchase of Prize Bonds. After all, come what may, they know that Prize Bond investments can always be cashed-in, and in our low-inflation, zero-interest existing world, those who buy loads of Prize Bonds stand weekly to lose virtually nothing, in comparison to those Lottery players now about to be asked to gamble and loose €12 per week with only a 1 in 8,145,060 chance of buying that much advertised ‘island for Ireland’.

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