The National Lottery has a new game called Millionaire Raffle. Tickets cost €20 each and the game is limited to 300,000 players. There are 532 prizes, the first two are for €1million; the next five pay €100,000 and prizes range downwards after that.
The first draw took place during the Rose of Tralee Festival last Tuesday but players are not at all happy with the manner in which the whole thing was organised.
Most of these 300,000 people tuned in to the show in the expectation of watching a live draw in which all their dreams might come true. Alas, it was not to be. The draw had actually taken place earlier that day, behind closed doors, at the National Lottery HQ in Dublin.
Photographers were dispatched to all the winning agents where photographs were taken and emailed to Tralee in preparation for the ‘live’ draw later that night. The ‘live’ draw turned out to be just the live ‘announcement’ of the winners.
Slick, efficient, great for RTE and the National Lottery but many callers into Liveline (Wed) were very suspicious of the whole deal. Derrick Davis said people thought there were victims of a three card trick. Many also expressed amazement that one of the €1million winners just happened to live in Tralee.
The whole episode has echoes of the National Sweepstakes operation of which I wrote about recently and the common denominator is state involvement and control. The corrupt Sweepstake, which for decades robbed countless millions from Irish citizens, was set up and run by the State, even the draws were supervised by a Garda Commissioner.
Consider the similarities with the National Lottery. RTE is a State organisation that practically acts as the promotional wing of the National Lottery. Curiously, a spokesperson for the Lottery didn’t know what financial arrangements existed between the NL and RTE for the Rose of Tralee.
The Dept. of Finance ‘regulates’ the activities of the NL, I wonder what arrangements are in place here. The State’s police are still involved with a Garda drawing tickets every week in company with a representative from KPMG. And most significantly, it’s a government minister (Martin Cullen, I think) who decides who benefits from lottery funds.
So, the State broadcaster, two government departments, the police force and an individual minister, all running or involved in the National Lottery. Sure, who could be suspicious of that?