Premier Lotteries Ireland’s war with online lottery betting operators has flared up again following the release of a new report into National Lottery sales.
On Thursday, PLI made note of a report by Indecon Economic Consultants that claimed half of Irish consumers were aware of at least one lottery betting operator, a significantly higher figure than the 32% of UK consumers who claimed knowledge of lottery betting.
The report, which was commissioned by PLI, also found that public awareness of a specific lottery betting operator – the identity of which wasn’t specified – was 32% in May 2017, up from just 19% the previous August. Lottery betting operator Lottoland launched its Irish-licensed operations in March 2017.
PLI, which operates the National Lottery, has been moaning about its lottery betting competitors ever since Lottoland, MyLotto24 and MultiLotto began operating in Ireland. The war of words ramped up this summer after PLI CEO Dermot Griffin appeared to blame these operators for ticket price hikes that took effect on September 1.
The Indecon report said National Lottery sales hit €800.2m in 2017, an eight-year high, but still below the product’s 2008 peak of €840m. The report suggested the Lottery’s inability to top this sum could be due to “the growth in alternative forms of gaming and of substitute products,” including lottery betting sites.
Lottoland and MyLotto24 issued a joint statement slamming the report’s “grossly misleading” conclusions while criticizing PLI for using this “red herring’ to deflect attention from the Lottery’s inability to produce a modern, competitive digital product.
These operators also pointed to a recent study they commissioned that said it was “factually incorrect” to claim that lottery betting operators were responsible for declines in good causes funding, given that the three locally licensed lottery betting operators’ 2017 sales were a mere €1.4m, equivalent to 0.25% of the National Lottery’s draw ticket sales.