Irish Lottery Players Spent Over $1 Billion Last Year

Lottery players and vendors in Ireland had a good year last year. Data from Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), the official lottery operator, shows that both took home more money than they did a year earlier.

Irish National Lottery
Irish National Lottery
A sign for an Irish National Lottery vendor. 2021 saw over 1 billion in sales for the lottery. (Image:

Irish lottery players purchased over €1 billion (US$1.01 billion) in tickets last year. This was 14.7% more than they did a year earlier, when virtually all other forms of gambling were taking a forced break due to COVID-19.

Although some people might claim that the increase only indicates that problem gambling is on the rise, they would be grossly mistaken. A study conducted by Ireland’s Health Research Board has already put that argument to rest.

A Pot of Gold

Of the amount lottery players spent, they also took back the lion’s share. 56% of the money made its way back to consumers in the way of prizes. Considering the lack of grand prize winners last year, the take is substantial.

Another 29% of the money PLI collected went to community projects. About one-third of every €1 (US$1.01) the operator collects supports community-based efforts in sports, the arts, culture and more. Since 1987, when it first launched, PLI has contributed around €6 billion (US$6.14 billion) to those causes.

This was the first year in the National Lottery’s history in which amounts raised for good causes exceeded €300 million and also, in which ticket sales exceeded €1 billion,” said PLI CEO Andrew Alge.

Lottery retailers received a significant cut, as well. They collectively took 5% of the generated revenue, putting around €55.3 million (US$56.63 million) in their pockets.

PLI puts the weekly participation in the lottery at about 1.4 million people. However, some of these may be repeat customers buying multiple tickets. These incorrectly believe that they can increase their odds of winning if they claim different sets of numbers for the same draw. However, it’s a fallacy that doesn’t hold up to mathematical scrutiny.

Regardless of whether there were 1.4 million individuals or not, the total amount of purchases they made gave PLI a banner year. It set a record, issuing €585.9 million (US$600.84 million) in prize money, 10.8% more than it did a year earlier. The operator turned 31 people into millionaires, of which 17 found success playing the Lotto.

May An Exceptionally Good Month

May proved to be a really good month last year for lottery players. From the various products PLI offers, several people became millionaires.

The biggest win was the €6,489,165 (US$6.64 million) Lotto win on May 22. That same day, someone else won €1 million in the Lotto Plus 1 draw.

Just before that, a player in Limerick took home €1 million in the Daily Million. Then, two weeks later, another lottery player picked up €2.5 million (US$2.56 million) in a Lotto draw.

The biggest prize last year went to another player in Limerick. On January 27, the winner pocketed €8,530,884 (US$8.73 million) in the Lotto.

Unlike in some other locations, Irish lottery winners have an extra bonus. All National Lottery prizes are tax-free.

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