Under the next national lottery licence, annual contributions for good causes will be set at 65% of gross gaming revenues. Gross gaming revenues are defined as the level of sales less the amount deducted for prizes. The current licence does not have a specific formula in place under legislation for good causes. The level of contribution is the amount remaining when prizes and costs are deducted from the value of total sales. It is worth noting that the level of returns for good causes from the national lottery has been falling in recent years. Under the next licence, the national lottery operator will be well placed to reverse this trend and boost the level of sales of national lottery tickets. This increase will be facilitated by the terms of both the next licence and the National Lottery Act 2013, which we passed in this House and the other House, and will offer the holder of the next licence greater flexibility for the growth and development of lottery games and distribution channels, including interactive channels. However, it is important to emphasise that this will be achieved in a responsible manner, as we have debated at some length, which protects the interests of national lottery players and the long-term sustainability of the lottery itself.
I am very confident, under the new arrangements, that the level of annual returns for good causes, which include sport, culture, community health and the natural environment, will grow significantly from the 2012 amount of €225 million. The outcome will be funding for more worthwhile projects in more places across the country.
I should also point out that the successful bidder for the next licence will make an upfront payment to the State in return for a 20-year licence. Part of this up-front payment will be used to fund the construction of the new national children’s hospital. In addition, some moneys which will accrue from the payment in respect of the national lottery licence are being allocated to help fund Exchequer capital projects this year and next year.