Recent exchanges in the Dáil shed some light on the potential impact on funding for good causes to include sport from the sale of the National Lottery.

In response to questions from Mary Lou McDonald TD, Minister Howlin confirmed that under the next national lottery licence annual contributions for good causes will be set at 65% of gross gaming revenues. He clarified that gross gaming revenues would be the amount remaining when prizes and costs were deduced from the value of total sales.

Applying this formula to the €225 million generated for good causes in 2012 would have reduced the total amount available by €11 million to €214 million. Despite this, Minister Howlin stated that the terms of the licence would be well placed to reverse the recent trend which, had been declining in recent years. The increase, he said, would be facilitated both by the terms of the next licence and the National Lottery Act, 2013 which will offer the licence holder greater flexibility for growth to include, the development of new games and distribution channels.

Minister Howlin said in addition to the projected growth of the amount available for distribution to good causes, the State would receive an upfront payment part of which, would be used to fund the new National Children’s Hospital with some moneys being used to help fund Exchequer capital projects in 2013 and 2014.

He also addressed concerns that a bigger upfront payment would not be used by a bidder as an incentive for a system that might negatively impact on the constant annual flow of money for good causes. In this regard, Minister Howlin confirmed that he picked the figure of 65% for good causes despite some suggestions from the Government’s advisors that they go for a lower-figure which, would ensure a bigger upfront payment. The Minister stated that he was willing to take a smaller upfront payment if it meant there would be a good growing annual fund for the good causes that are so important into the future.