The operator of the National Lottery has apologised after the revelation that three of its scratch card games did not include four top prizes to win for the last five years.
PLI, who took over the licence in 2014, said the four missing prizes are worth €180,000 and represent 1.36% of the total prize funds of those three scratch card games.
These omissions were discovered through an internal review of all National Lottery products over the last six weeks and PLI said they were caused ‘by human error’.
“We are deeply sorry for these errors which should have been fixed before the games went on sale,” National Lottery CEO, Andrew Algeo, said.
“New controls are now in place to ensure this does not happen again. We would like to reassure our players by pointing out that the total amount involved is less than 0.01% of all our prizes of the last five years.”
But Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has said that the revelation raises very serious questions for both the lottery operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) and the national lottery regulator.
“Without the trust of the general public, the success of the national lottery is far from guaranteed,” he said. “Given that PLI says it learned of this issue six weeks ago, it is incredible they allowed these scratch cards to continue in circulation with the information they had.
“It would appear that the regulator did not make this discovery and they too have questions to answer to. The regulator needs to investigate how this issue did not surface until six weeks ago.”
Deputy McGrath has suggested that both PLI and the regulator be invited to come before the Oireachtas Finance Committee to face questions on the issue.
Mr Algeo added that ‘the total value of the missing prizes will now be made available to our players through a special draw’.
PLI will fund the total cost of the New Year’s Special Draw and will forego any contribution from additional sales of these Christmas scratch cards compared to 2018, by donating any additional contribution to the charity Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.