National Lottery apologises over missing scratch card prizes totalling €180,000 7 months ago

National Lottery apologises over missing scratch card prizes totalling €180,000

Four top prizes were excluded in three scratch card games dating back to 2014.

The National Lottery has apologised after the exclusion of four top prizes totalling €180,000 from three scratch card games dating back to 2014.

The National Lottery issued the apology after its operator, PLI, found that the prizes were not included for players to win in three out of 178 scratch card games the National Lottery has offered since taking over the licence in 2014.

The omissions, totalling €180,000 and representing 1.36% of the total prize funds of those three scratch card games, were discovered through an internal review of all National Lottery products over the last six weeks.

The National Lottery says the omissions were caused by human error and did not affect Lotto, EuroMillions, Daily Millions, digital games and all other National Lottery products. The Regulator of the National Lottery was notified of the review and has been regularly updated since. Good Causes were not adversely affected.

In a statement apologising for the errors, National Lottery CEO Andrew Algeo said: “We are deeply sorry for these errors which should have been fixed before the games went on sale. We are committed to ensuring that our players are always treated fairly.

“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. The total value of the missing prizes will now be made available to our players through a special draw.”

The Office of the Regulator of the National Lottery also issued a statement on Wednesday, which read: "My office has become aware of anomalies in three scratch card games, relating to four omitted jackpot prizes. Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC, the Operator of the National Lottery, notified my office of the anomalies in November 2019.

The core objective of the regulator is to ensure that players and the integrity of the National Lottery are protected.  Upon being notified, my immediate priorities were to ensure that the operator would find and implement a solution to return the value of these prizes to players at the earliest opportunity and that the operator introduced effective measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

"I fast tracked my considerations of a proposal from the operator to return the omitted prize money to players by way of a New Year's Special Draw, entirely funded by the operator. This proposal was approved. I also determined that the affected scratch card game still on sale should be withdrawn.

"My officials are now examining what breaches of the act or licence may have occurred and have written to the operator to commence the formal process prescribed in the licence in this regard."

As a result, The National Lottery has announced that it will run a New Year’s Special Draw on 6 January 2020 for 180 “will be won” prizes of €1,000, with the total prize fund equalling the value of the missing prizes in the scratch card games.

All entrants to the Christmas Bonus Draws will automatically be entered into the New Year’s Special Draw at no extra cost.

The Christmas Bonus Draws are available to any players of Hampers Sweets and Treats, Merry Money or Christmas Countdown scratch cards after 1 October 2019.

The National Lottery operator, 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. Good Causes will benefit from all sales in the normal way.

More details on the draw are available on The National Lottery website.