The National Lottery was established in 1987 and in this time it has raised over €6 billion for good causes.
The National Lottery was created under the National Lottery Act 1986. It was operated under licence by the State-owned An Post National Lottery Company until 2014. The relevant government minister approved games or changes to games and managed and controlled the National Lottery Fund held in the Central Bank of Ireland. The National Lottery began operations when it launched the first scratch card in March 1987. The first weekly National Lottery Lotto draw was held in April 1988.
The 2013 Act provided instead for a competitive process for the licence to operate the National Lottery as well as an independent Regulator to hold the private operator to account and manage and control the National Lottery Fund. The National Lottery continues to be owned by the State and the National Lottery Fund continues to be held in the Central Bank of Ireland. In February 2014, the Irish government awarded the licence to Premier Lotteries Ireland (DAC) for 20 years. PLI began operating the National Lottery in November 2014. The independent office for the Regulator of the National Lottery was established and the first Regulator took up the position in November 2014.