NEWS RELEASE: RGDATA CALL ON MINISTER HOWLIN TO PUBLISH TERMS OF DRAFT NATIONAL LOTTERY LICENCE
RETAILERS NEED ASSURANCE THAT MARGIN WILL BE PROTECTED IN SALE PROCESS
RGDATA, the organisation representing the independent retail grocery sector has called on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to publish the draft licence to operate the National Lottery now. The organisation made the call following confirmation by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in bid documentation that the details of the draft licence would only be available to parties that have expressed an interest in bidding for the licence and pay €100,000 to enter a Virtual Data Room.
RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley said that the Minister had given an assurance to the Dail and Seanad that the existing margin paid to retailers who sell national lottery products would be preserved in the sale process. Retailers, who are already operating in a very challenging environment are deeply concerned that any new operator of the licence will erode the existing margin of 6% in an attempt to recover the hundreds of millions that they are likely to pay to acquire the licence. Tara Buckley said that at a time of unprecedented pressure for retailers, any cut to the National Lottery margin, could be the difference between success and failure for retailers. There are also concerns that the new licence could allow a new operator to cull the existing agency network and cherry pick or offer preferential terms to particular retailers.
"Minister Howlin gave an assurance to retailers and the members of the Oireachtas that the sale of the National Lottery would not result in a deterioration of the relationship that retailers have enjoyed with the National Lottery over the last 25 years. Retailers have played a critical role in the success of the National Lottery and are concerned that they will be the losers when a new licensee takes over from the current operator. They need evidence of the assurance given by the Minister that their interests will be secured in whatever new arrangements will be concluded with a new licensee. Retailers are alarmed now that the bidding process has commenced , to learn that the details of the licence will only be provided to potential bidders for the licence who will each pay €100,000 to get access to this information".
Ms. Buckley said that she was calling on the Minister to publish the terms of the National Lottery Licence now to allay the concerns of retailers about the threat to their margin arising from the disposal of the licence. She also said that retailers, as strong members of their local communities, would also welcome clarification from the Minister on the amount of money that will be available for good causes under the new licence arrangements.
For further information contact:
Communications & Public Affairs Manager