Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 11 March, 1997
Written Answers. - National Lottery.
Ms Keogh Ms Keogh
54. Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Finance when the current contract to operate the national lottery system ends; the way in which the contract was awarded on the last occasion; the procedures which will be followed when the contract is next  awarded; whether other companies or organisations can apply for the contract in future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6493/97]
Ms Keogh Ms Keogh
55. Ms Keogh asked the Minister for Finance the profits accruing to An Post from its operation of the national lottery in each of the years from 1994 to 1996; if he has satisfied himself with the level of profit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6494/97]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn) Ruairí Quinn
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 55 together.
The current licence under which the An Post National Lottery Company operates the national lottery ends on 31 March 2000. It came into effect on 1 January 1994 and replaced the earlier licence which was granted for a period of ten years from October 1986.
As the player base for the national lottery continues to grow rapidly, the company concluded that substantial investment in upgraded technology was required to enhance game support services to players, inter alia by facilitating improved on-line access via terminals. Accordingly, following a public competitive tendering process, the National Lottery Company requested ministerial approval for contractual arrangements which would deliver improved technology on the most competitive terms. In order to maximise the gains under the terms negotiated, and in recognition of the need for continuity in responding to challenges in the market place arising, for example, from the introduction of the UK lottery, the Minister for Finance agreed, following consultation with the Attorney General, to issue the fresh licence referred to above. The licence provides for maximum gains from the investment in new technology by the National Lottery Company and a better return to the National Lottery Beneficiary Fund.
The grant of a licence to operate the national lottery is subject to the provisions set out in section 3 of the National Lottery Act, 1986. The arrangements which will apply after 31 March 2000 will be decided closer to that date. It has not been the practice to disclose commercially sensitive information such as the fee payable to An Post in respect of the national lottery. It would be particularly inappropriate to do so at this stage lest it influence the conduct of parties who would have an interest in the position when the existing licence to operate the national lottery expires.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. National Lottery.