Updated: 27/04/12 : 11:02:47
Sales of scratchcards and draw tickets slipped last year as the public reined in spending in a still-challenging economic environment, the National Lottery said this morning.
The company's annual report published today shows that it had sales of E761 million from lottery tickets and scratch cards in 2011, a decline of 1.4pc on the previous year and raised E232 million for good causes last year, the lowest amount in five years.
"This was achieved in a very challenging retail environment where the average decline in comparable spend was 5pc," it said.
During the year 34.3 million winners of National Lottery games shared a total prize fund of E422.5 million, up from E419.9 million in 2010. This represented an average prize pay-out of 55.5pc, in a particularly lucky year for players. The National Lottery paid out over E1 million in winnings every day of 2011 and over 800 players won prizes of E10,000 or more.
Today's report comes as the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin is finalising the terms of a new 20- year licence to run the business which will be the subject of a bidding process later this year.
Lotto related draw games represented half of the National Lottery's overall turnover with sales of E379.1 million in 2011. Sales of the Lotto game during the year were E282.2 million compared to E322.2 million in 2010. The average rate of play per player positions the Irish Lotto game as one of the highest in the world in terms of participation. Lotto Plus generated sales of E83.0 million in 2011 as 88pc of all Lotto players opted to play this game. Sales of Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 were E13.9 million.
The introduction of a second EuroMillions weekly draw on Tuesday nights and the enhanced game structure gave a great boost to this game in 2011. The record July jackpot of E185 million helped EuroMillions sales reach E127.4 million in Ireland, up 29pc from E98.6 million in the previous year.
Sales of the associated EuroMillions Plus game also increased significantly, up 30pc to E43 million from E33.2 million in 2010. 67pc of all EuroMillions players also played the EuroMillions Plus game during the year.
The National Lottery Scratch Card game portfolio was invigorated during the year driving a successful performance of E158.4 million in sales, up from E153.2 million in the previous year. The introduction of an imaginative stream of new games, backed by a strong marketing campaign, was a key growth factor.
Sales of the Monday Million and Monday Million Plus games combined were E19.4 million compared to E20.6 million in 2010. The Monday Million draw accounted for E13.8 million, with sales of Monday Million Plus up to E5.6 million from E3.7 million in its first full year of sales.
"2011 was a significant year in the history of Ireland's National Lottery in that it marked the 25th year of winning for players and good causes throughout Ireland. What started as a relatively modest business in March 1987 with just one scratch card game and annual sales of E130 million has grown steadily to achieve total sales of over E12 billion over the first 25 years," said chairman, Donal Connell.