This takes the form of:
The performance of the Operator is monitored and assessed by reference to projected standards to be achieved in each year.
Throughout the year, we monitor many of these standards on a weekly or monthly basis as well as assessing the performance of individual National Lottery games.
The integrity of the National Lottery relies on the Operator having effective systems and controls.
Throughout the year, we receive and review a range of reports and proactively interrogate the Operator on its system of internal controls. These reports can be related to the controls in general or be specific to an important aspect of running a state lottery. This includes the security of draw operating areas, or the PR campaigns conducted to find the winner of a large prize that is yet to be claimed.
The Regulator pays particular attention to checking that the Operator is monitoring how it protects those who are underage (defined in the Act as under 18 years of age) as well as players at risk of excessive or problem gambling. More information on this aspect of the Office’s work can be found here.
We regularly assess the Operator’s marketing communication channels to ensure that the Advertising and Promotion Code of Practice and other clauses of the Licence are followed.
Such marketing communications by the Operator must be factually correct and must not be misleading. There are specific standards in place to avoid targeting persons under 18 years of age or other vulnerable persons and to discourage and prevent problem gambling.
The standards required apply to all forms of advertising and promotion including in-store marketing, PR, TV and radio advertising, outdoor advertising, online advertising, social media posts, direct emails to players (who must have signed up to receive them), and so on.
The Regulator has taken enforcement action where the Operator was found to have breached the Code (see below for more details).
The current Advertising and Promotion Code of Practice can be found here.
If you are concerned about a potential breach of the Code, you can make a complaint to the Regulator. Find out how here.
Members of the public, whether as participants in any National Lottery Game or not, can file complaints in relation to the National Lottery with the Operator or with the Regulator.
When the Regulator receives a complaint from a member of the public, it is analysed from a regulatory perspective to determine whether there has been a breach of the Act or the Licence by the Operator. The Regulator cannot influence or alter a decision that falls within the Operator’s remit, other than to ensure that it complies with the Act and the Licence.
You can make a complaint here.
Each year, the Regulator proactively identifies areas of operation within the National Lottery to review for compliance with the Licence. In most cases the review leads to improvements in the Operator’s controls to benefit the integrity and long-term sustainability of the National Lottery and the interests of participants. Any potential non-compliance found is considered for enforcement by the Regulator.
The Regulator aims to keep abreast of current trends and emerging developments in lottery markets internationally, as well as the latest research on best practices for protecting the interests of participants.
We monitor industry news, speak to regulators in other jurisdictions, and the Head of Player Protection and Research continuously works to identify processes and practices that have demonstrated effectiveness in preventing or minimising problem gambling.
In 2018, the Regulator commissioned major independent research to examine the Irish retail sector’s compliance with rules governing the sale of National Lottery products to under 18s. This research was the first of its kind in Ireland and the findings provided the Regulator with an important baseline measure from which to assess the impact of future actions to be taken by the Operator to improve compliance by retailers in this important area.
While the majority of retailers were fully compliant, the percentage which were not implementing the rules properly was significant and unacceptable.
The commissioning and publication of this research prompted the Operator to implement new measures to prevent the sale of National Lottery products to minors. This included a “Think 21” campaign and the implementation of regular mystery shopping exercises, which are ongoing.
Full details of the research and findings can be found in our data and publications section here.
The Regulator is empowered to make and publish a finding where the Operator has failed to comply with any provision of the Act or Licence. This may or may not involve a statutory investigation, but must always involve fair procedure and the processes set out in the legal framework. In certain circumstances (specified in Part 6 of the Act and Clause 22 of the Licence) this may lead the Regulator to direct the Operator to take a specific action to bring it into compliance and/or to withhold money ordinarily due to the Operator.
The Fund is managed and controlled by the Regulator.