Lottoland and MyLotto24 have told the Irish National Lottery to look at its “underperforming” digital strategy after it suggested the growth of lottery betting operators was undermining its efforts to fund good causes.
A report issued today (December 13) by National Lottery operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) said its growth and market share was being impacted by the development of bet-on-lottery sites, identifying increasing brand awareness as a key criteria. This had a knock-on effect on the amount it was able to donate to good causes, it said.
In its report for PLI, research company Indecon noted: “One of the key differences in relation to the National Lottery and other competitors is that the National Lottery is mandated to provide funding to Good Causes, and to return at least 50% of its revenue as prizes to winners of its games. There is no such requirement for other operators in the market.”
However, Lottoland and MyLotto24 described PLI and Indecon’s data as “misleading,” citing research published earlier this year by economist Jim Power, which shows the three biggest lottery betting operators’ Irish sales of €1.4m were just 0.25% of the National Lottery’s own takings.
The companies also highlighted concerns expressed by Power about the National Lottery’s business strategy, particularly the lowly 6.5% of sales via digital channels which compares unfavourably with the 19.5% achieved by its UK equivalent. Other concerns include “anti-consumer” price increases and a lack of transparency regarding the use of unclaimed jackpots.
“These are the key factors that most jeopardise the future sustainability of good causes funding in Ireland and it is disappointing that the Indecon report failed to address these in any meaningful way,” the lottery betting operators said.
The National Lottery said it generated €226m for good causes last year, which was up 6.1% year-on-year. Around 91% of revenue generated by the National Lottery is returned to the community in prizes, retail commissions and Good Causes.
Lottoland and MyLotto24 defended the role of online lottery betting operators within the Irish gambling sector, claiming they offer “innovation, choice and value” to Irish consumers.
“There is no evidence that the existence of greater consumer choice which online betting facilitates is in any way undermining good causes funding in Ireland,” the operators said.
“However, regrettably, PLI continues to use this red herring as a way to deflect attention away from serious questions it should really be addressing about the threat that its’ own business model poses to the long-term future of good causes funding.”