The Competition for the Licence
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform recently announced an invitation for Expressions of Interest from parties wishing to participate in the competition for the award of a 20 year exclusive licence to operate the National Lottery in Ireland.
This tender process, which is expected to run through the summer, will result in the licence being awarded to the successful operator in November 2013. In preparation for the awarding of the new licence, the Government have passed the National Lottery Act 2012.
The National Lottery Act 2012
The National Lottery Act 2012 (the "Act") was signed into law by the President on 14 May and will pave the way for the Government to sell a 20 year licence to provide the Irish national lottery.
The sale of the lottery licence has received widespread publicity due in part to the fact that part of the upfront fee for the licence has been earmarked for the construction of a national children's hospital.
Features of the Act
The Act (which is awaiting commencement) is notable for a number of features:
It will create a new statutory regulator, the Office of Regulator of the National Lottery (the "Lottery Regulator"). The functions of the Lottery Regulator will include ensuring that the national lottery is run in accordance with the licence conditions, that the interests of the participants in the national lottery are protected and that the long term sustainability of the national lottery is safeguarded. The total value of prizes made available to the public in lottery games must be equal to or not less than 50% of moneys received by the operator. The Lottery Regulator is also tasked with seeking to ensure that revenues allocated for payment by the operator into a Central Fund (a fund for charitable purposes), are as great as possible. The Act allows for the holding of a competition in respect of the grant of the new lottery licence. The Minister may make a direction to the Lottery Regulator in relation to the next licence setting out the duration of the licence, the financial arrangements regarding the award of the licence and the terms of the competition granting the licence. Once in place, the operator may not transfer or alienate the licence without consent of Regulator. The Act also sets down certain conditions governing the provision of national lottery services. A licence issued pursuant to the Act will contain a code of practice regarding the operation of the National...