Minister Donohoe announces release of €16 million of National Lottery money to support COVID-19 health efforts

1st April, 2020

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) welcomed the allocation of an additional €16m of National Lottery historic expired unclaimed prize money to Good Causes. This funding will be used to support the health sector respond to the COVID-19. The money was held in the National Lottery Fund, which is managed and controlled by the National Lottery Regulator and will now be transferred by the Regulator to the Exchequer.

Commenting on this development, Minister Donohoe said: “I am pleased that the €16 million of historic expired prizes has become available to support investments in health at a time of unprecedented national crisis due to COVID-19.”

National Lottery CEO, Andrew Algeo said: “All of us at the National Lottery are delighted to see this €16 million used to improve health in our communities. PLI has been pleased to work together with the Regulator to make these funds available at this time. Thanks to our players the National Lottery raised over €250m for thousands of Good Causes in 2019 and perhaps more than ever, plays a vital role in supporting clubs, charities and great causes across the country.”

Over €5.5 billion has been raised for use by Good Causes since the National Lottery commenced operations in 1987. The sectoral areas funded by Good Causes are set out in the National Lottery Act, 2013 and include health of the community.


Notes for Editors

  • At the end of the An Post National Lottery Licence, a total of €16,092,000 was held on account in the National Lottery Fund in relation to the net of the expired prizes and games which had been built up since An Post National Lottery Company began trading. After the successful bid from PLI to run the Lottery licence, the treatment of these historic expired prizes and games in the National Lottery Fund needed to be addressed between the Regulator, PLI and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. These issues have now been concluded so that the sums can be released to Good Causes by the Regulator.
  • On the 5th of March the Regulator determined that under the Act and Licence, the funds were not due to transfer to PLI but neither could they be transferred to Good Causes and she recommended that the Act be amended. The change in Licence subsequently proposed by PLI and agreed with the Regulator now means the money can be returned to the Exchequer without delay for use by Good Causes.
  • The National Lottery was created to help raise funds for good causes in 1986. Nearly 30 cent in every €1 spent on all National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts, heritage and the Irish Language. In total more than €5.6 Billion has been raised for Good Causes since the National Lottery was established 32 years ago.
  • Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC (PLI) is the operator of the Irish National Lottery, having been granted a 20-year licence by the Irish Government in November 2014.
  • The National Lottery Fund is managed and controlled by the Office of the National Lottery Regulator. At intervals determined by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, the Regulator pays sums allocated for use by good causes into the Central Fund of the Exchequer.