National Lottery sales jumped to a near record €884 million last year as the gaming franchise recruited more players through its online channel.
The franchise, which is run by Canadian-owned operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), said revenue from ticket and scratch card sales rose by nearly €80 million last year. This generated €251.6 million for good causes.
The results, however, predate the onset of coronavirus, which is expected to have a big impact on sales.
The results show the company generated an operating profit of €8.9 million for 2019, up from €5.1 million a year earlier, reflecting the increase in headline sales.
PLI said on average 1.39 million people or 39 per cent of the adult population now play National Lottery games on a weekly basis.
The strong performance was driven by another big pick-up in online sales, which rose by 9 per cent to €80.7 million.
This represented annual growth of nearly 31 per cent for the group’s online portal, which was revamped as part of the 2014 privatisation process, which saw the business sold to Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
Previously, the business was restricted from advertising its online channel and players wishing to play via the internet were subject to a cumbersome registration process.
Sales of draw-based games increased to €586.7 million while scratch card and interactive instant win games sales grew by 11 per cent to €297.8 million, PLI said.
In March, the National Lottery cancelled the remaining seven Winning Streak TV gameshows as it was deemed unsafe to have players and audience members travel and congregate to play out the games amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It also removed Winning Streak tickets from sale from March 28th.
Speaking about the measures taken to protect the National Lottery through the outbreak, PLI’s new chief executive Andrew Algeo said: “We extended the period of time that winners can collect prizes on all draws and certain scratch card games in order to encourage people to stay at home and our enhanced online product means players can avoid unnecessary journeys.
“In 2019, €50.8 million was paid in commission to retailers who in turn provide employment to thousands of people all over Ireland.”
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