The National Lottery has been cast as villain and benefactor, since its inception in 1987.
The lottery was initiated under the guidance of the former minister for sport and youth affairs, the late Donal Creed TD, a man of integrity and father of the current Agriculture Minister Michael Creed.
The lottery was set up to fund sport and the arts. This policy, however, was quickly dissipated, once the funds came on stream. There has been criticism of the proceeds being used as a political slush fund. As of the end of 2013, accumulated National Lottery sales were €12bn, payouts were €6bn, and €4.4bn had been earned for the causes it supports.
Sales in 1995 were £303.2m, with the twice-weekly Lotto accounting for two thirds and the scratch cards one third. Sales have jumped three times since the first full year, 1988. The growth in Lotto sales has been spectacular, from £21m in its first year to £202m the following year.
In 2012, Irish sales of EuroMillions were €131.5m and of LottoPlus were €74.3m, and sales of Lotto were €339.7m.
From the massive intake of funds from scratchcards, little returns to the everyday punter.
Very few scratchcards produce major winners, just piddling sums. This, despite instant cash prices of up to €100,000.
Why do so few winning envelopes drawn from the drums on RTÉ’s Saturday TV show, Winning Streak, carry postage stamps?
Do 3-star winners travel to the National Lottery Headquarters, in Dublin, to hand in their envelopes for the draw? And you rarely see participants from the same county on the same episode of Winning Streak.
Cllr Noel Collins