The National Lottery has celebrated its 30th birthday with special guest Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in attendance for a live broadcast of the midweek draw for €5.5m.

Yesterday the Lotto announced that it has contributed €5bn to good causes around Ireland since its inception in 1987.

National Lottery chief executive Dermot Griffin said it was important to remind people that the Lotto was “set up with the express purpose of raising funds for good causes” in Ireland.

“We also provide people with exciting fun games and we always promote responsible play,” he said. “We created over 800 millionaires in the last 30 years whose lives have changed as a result.”

The audience for last night’s draw, which was presented by Nuala Carey, included several of the Lotto’s good cause beneficiaries, senior RTÉ personnel, including director general Dee Forbes and the chair of the RTÉ Authority, Moya Doherty, as well as retailers.

Mr Varadkar told the audience and viewers at home that the National Lottery had become an important part of Irish life.

Winning Streak presenter Marty Whelan was also in attendance.

He said the Lotto show, which is the longest-running TV game show in Europe, was a very special entity.

“It is very special,” he said. “You get to meet people from all walks of life every week. People love the show and connect with it, something which is reflected in the show’s success and continued high viewership.”

Ms Carey, who has a 15-year association with the draw, said it was “wonderful” to be associated with it.

Fellow Lotto presenter Kamal Ibrahim was also in attendance and said a win is a life-altering experience for people.

“Winning a large Lotto prize is a life-changing experience which can transform someone’s life — and that’s the magic of the National Lottery,” he said.

Separate to the 800 millionaires that the Lotto has created in its 30-year history, approximately 30c of every euro generated by lottery sales go towards good cause projects in the areas of sport and recreation, health and welfare, national heritage, the arts, and the Irish language.

This amounts to around €500,000 every day.

Last year, €210m was raised for good causes with the funds. This equates to 550 multi-purpose all weather pitches being constructed or 175,000 defibrillators being distributed.


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