Following several years of declining receipts, an unexpectedly strong increase in online sales last year reportedly helped Ireland’s state-owned National Lottery to record a 12% boost year-on-year in annual turnover to €750 million ($884.9 million).
According to a report from The Irish Times newspaper, the 2016 recovery came despite the addition of new numbers to draw cards as well as an increase in unit prices and saw the National Lottery post an almost 13.3% boost year-on-year in the funds it contributed to good causes to €213 million ($251.3 million).
The premiere of an online service reportedly came after Premier Lotteries Ireland, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, paid €405 million ($478 million) in 2014 for the 20-year license to operate the National Lottery. A counterpart of the United Kingdom’s Camelot Group, the franchisee purportedly implemented the new channel in hopes of delivering bigger jackpots and attracting more players and despite protests from land-based retailers who worried that such a move would cannibalize their trade.
The Irish Times reported that the National Lottery announced a 50% advance year-on-year at 387,000 in the number of players registering to play online in 2016 while sales through the new channel grew by 77% to €40.7 million ($48 million). Most significantly, this jump was achieved without eroding more traditional land-based retailers as these purportedly saw their annual lottery receipts improve by nearly 10%.
“The completion of our second full year of trading has seen a significant and positive return to sustainable and responsible growth for the National Lottery,” Dermot Griffin, Chief Executive Officer for Premier Lotteries Ireland, reportedly told The Irish Times. “The strategy that began with transition to the new license in 2014 is now seeing the benefits of the large-scale investment in our National Lottery infrastructure.”
The newspaper reported that the 2016 results saw Premier Lotteries Ireland record a 121% swell in its annual operating profit to €16.4 million ($19.3 million) while its players shared an overall prize pool of €422 million ($498.2 million) encompassing the €13.8 million ($16.3 million) jackpot that was won by one lucky player in County Mayo.
“This is delivering prizes to our players and, most importantly, securing much needed funds for deserving good causes across Ireland, [which is] a responsibility we take very seriously,” Griffin reportedly told The Irish Times.