Dáil Éireann - Volume 557 - 13 November, 2002
Written Answers. - National Lottery.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
179. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of a decision by An Post not to renew some lottery agent contracts, his attention has been drawn to the fact that this will reduce the availability of lotto tickets in many parts of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21781/02]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy) Charlie McCreevy
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I am not aware of any decision by An Post not to renew some lottery agent contracts, as stated in the Deputy's question. The Deputy may be referring to a recently publicised decision by the An Post National Lottery Company to downgrade some 60 lotto terminals countrywide as part of an overall restructuring of the lotto terminal network.
In January of this year the company carried out a review of its terminal network. At that time there were approximately 2,000 lotto terminals and 1,500 “instant only” or “scratch card” terminals installed. In conducting this review they looked at the sales levels of each of their existing terminals and they also took into account the changing retail environment since these terminals were first installed. As a result of this, the company decided to do a root and branch job of replacing the entire terminal base of 3,500 between now and Christmas in order to reflect the findings of the review. In doing this it decided to use the opportunity to improve the service levels to the player base by changing the machine type provided in certain outlets.
 What must be appreciated are the very positive benefits of the company's exercise, which far outweigh any negative consequences. While 60 outlets were downgraded to a certain degree as a result of the review, there are now 400 agents, who previously could sell only scratch cards, who can now offer quick picks for all the on-line games. In addition, a further 100 scratch card agents have been upgraded to full lotto terminals offering the complete product range. So while 60 outlets were downgraded, 500 others were upgraded.
Overall, the situation which will obtain as a result of the lottery's review not only makes commercial sense but will be much more conducive to a wider availability of the full range of lotto services to urban and rural areas.
Dáil Éireann 557 Written Answers. National Lottery.