Irish lottery operator fined for self-exclusion breaches

Premier Lotteries Ireland has been sold to FDJ.
Premier Lotteries Ireland has been sold to FDJ.

Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) has been fined €150,000.

Ireland.- The Regulator of the National Lottery in Ireland has fined National Lottery operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) €150,000. The penalty was imposed for self-exclusion breaches.

The regulator said PLI had breached the terms of its licence by allowing self-excluded players to open new accounts and buy tickets. In 2021, an algorithm deleted 126 accounts belonging to self-excluded customers, but the accounts should have been saved in order to prevent their owners from opening new ones.

Some 16 self-excluded customers were able to open a new account, and 10 of them purchased tickets, spending a combined €3,292. Four received marketing emails.

PLI implemented its self-exclusion scheme voluntarily in 2019. However, despite the operator not being mandated to offer the option under its licence conditions, the regulator said that having taken the decision to introduce the option, PLI was responsible for ensuring it worked.

The penalty has been taken in the form of withheld €150,000 in payments to PLI and has been sent to the exchequer for distribution to good causes. It’s the first time that the regulator has withheld payment for a licence breach.

Carol Boate, head of the Irish regulator, said: “After consideration of the investigator’s report and the operator’s representations, I determined that the operator had breached the licence.

“Having offered a permanent self-exclusion facility as a responsible gaming measure, the operator was obliged to put in place the operational means to determine that persons seeking to purchase tickets had not previously opted for permanent self-exclusion.”

FDJ acquisition

In July, the French national lottery operator Française des Jeux group (FDJ) reached a  €350m deal to acquire PLI from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, An Post and An Post Pension fund. PLI has said that the deal will not affect its contract to run the Irish National Lottery, which runs until 2034.

Meanwhile, Ireland is to create a new gambling regulator under its Gambling Regulation Bill.  Irish horseracing stakeholders are concerned about the potential impact of a proposed ban on television gambling advertising between the hours of 5.30am and 9pm. The measure is intended to reduce children’s exposure to gambling advertising.

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gambling regulation Premier Lotteries Ireland