Ireland’s Fianna Fáil granted licence to run political lottery

Ireland has passed legislation to allow political parties to run prize draws.
Ireland has passed legislation to allow political parties to run prize draws.

The new type of licence allows parties to run lotteries to raise funds for election campaigns.

Ireland.- The political party Fianna Fáil has been granted a licence to run a lottery under a new law that permits political lottery operations. It will be able to offer cash prizes of up to €360,000 with the ticket sales used to help finance election campaigns.

The news comes after the party was previously forced to cancel a raffle after declaring itself a charity to get a lottery licence. It planned to sell tickets at €50 a pop in a bid to raise €500,000 but cancelled the draw due to a legal challenge.

However, a new law in Ireland allows major political parties to raise funding between elections. The Electoral Reform Act 2022, which came into force on February 9, allows registered political parties to promote periodic prize draws.

Under the new legislation, Fianna Fáil applied to Dublin District Court for a 12-month licence to run lotteries from May this year.

The value of each prize and the name of the intended beneficiary of the lottery shall be stated on every ticket or coupon or, where the lottery is conducted on premises, prominently displayed. The total value of the prizes must not be more than €30,000 in one week or €360,000 in one year.

Asked by Judge Marie Quirke about the purposes of the lotteries, Fianna Fáil finance director David Burke said that they would go toward election expenses, “primarily for campaigning costs during election periods”.

Tickets will be available at party offices around the country and also advertised on social media. Ticket buyers must be over 18. The first draw is expected to take place in July. The Labour Party had criticised the sudden change in legislation, describing it as a “good old-style Fianna Fáil stroke”.

Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill

Meanwhile, in December the minister for law reform James Browne presented Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill for its second reading in parliament. The bill, which was approved at its first reading, will create a dedicated gambling regulator for Ireland and introduce the regulation of online gambling.

The industry has largely welcomed the bill, but there has been concern about broad language on the subject of a prohibition of gambling promotions. In a speech to parliament, Browne clarified details on that and other matters.

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