Ireland's National Lottery is expected to raise ticket prices next year as part of a shake-up of the business aimed at halting several years of declining sales.
The new operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), is under pressure to recoup its €405 million outlay for the licence and is known to have set ambitious growth targets for its 20-year tenure in charge.
While higher ticket prices would, in theory, generate bigger jackpots and potentially more publicity around its weekly draws, the move could alienate recession-weary Irish lottery players, who are still feeling the after-affects of the financial crisis.
As part of a review, the operator will examine the optimum pricing structures for its weekly prize draws, its growing suite of online games and its scratchcard products.
According to a source, the Government agreed to various product changes, including potential price hikes, in its pre-sale negotiations with PLI.
This means a price increase would not need the approval of National Lottery regulator Liam Sloyan, who took up the position last month. Currently it costs a minimum of €3 to buy two lines for the main draws, with 91 percent of customers opting to include their numbers in the lotto plus draw for an additional €1.
A PLI spokeswoman said, "We continually review our game portfolio. This includes looking at new games as well as game developments and pricing."
The PLI consortium, which involves An Post and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan — owners of UK operator Camelot — formally took charge of the business earlier this month.
The operator is being advised in its strategy and pricing policy by Camelot Global, the British company's international arm.
In October, Camelot in the UK doubled its standard ticket price from £1 to £2, the first such price increase since the game was launched in 1995, drawing criticism from consumer groups. The company's new chief executive, Andy Duncan, said the price increases would give players more opportunities to win more money.
The Irish operating consortium is banking on growing the franchise, in part through a revamped online portal, to claw back its investment.
It is expected to launch of a series new online games next year, exploiting the easing of restrictions on its digital arm.
Thanks to myturn for the tip.