Mark Stedman/
Hard Luck

National Lottery regulator could be asked to appear before Oireachtas Committee

The lengthy wait for a winner has led to some calls for greater scrutiny of the lotto system.

THE NATIONAL LOTTERY regulator could be asked to appear before the Dail’s Finance Committee, the Taoiseach has suggested, after concerns were raised that the jackpot has not been won for months.

The lengthy wait for a winner has led to some calls for greater scrutiny of the lotto system.

Micheál Martin was asked by Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan in the Dáil today: “Might it not be appropriate to refer the matter to the Committee of Budgetary Oversight and the minister, and with the possibility of the regulator making an appearance in order to expedite the review already in hand in the minister’s department?”

He said this is needed for “public confidence”.

The National Lottery jackpot is capped at €19 million, where it has remained since September, with no more money to be added until that sum is won.

Last week, Durkan called for an investigation into the lotto draw, with no-one winning the jackpot for six months.

“It’s been almost six months since it was won. This didn’t happen in Ronan Collins’ day. The jackpot has been stuck on 19 million euros since September. What’s going on?” he said, referring to the DJ and former host of the National Lottery draw.

“The prospect of winning is so remote that punters must be thinking Shergar would have a better chance at winning Squid Game,” he said.

The Taoiseach said today: “I have noted, of late, Deputy Durkan’s tenacity and persistence on the issue of the lottery and the necessity for somebody to win the prize.

“I think it could be taken up by the Committee on Finance,” he said.

“I think you should invite in the regulator, which governs the licensing of the lotto.

“We all have high estimations of ourselves, but my capacity to produce a winner in the lottery, I would have to concede, I don’t think is within my grasp right now.”

In a statement issued this afternoon, Durkan said: “Sales are up, yet the winners are down. The lotto is like Manchester United – cash being splashed about every week, but a long barren spell sustains with nothing to show for it.”

“I have written to the Minister for Public Expenditure, Michael McGrath, whose department oversees the National Lotto, to express my concern.

“I am aware he has commissioned a report into the transparency of the distribution of lotto funding, but we need to go further and investigate the operation of the game itself now.”

He said: “I am asking the regulator, out of respect to the public, to appear before the Oireachtas Committee and explain this situation so that players are provided with the assurance they need to continue playing our National Lotto.”

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