Population 2019: 4.8 million
GDP 2019: 335 billion EUR
GDP per capita 2019: 68,640 EUR
Taxation for Lotteries: 25% gross profit tax for betting exchanges, online gaming services based in Ireland pay a VAT of 23% based on GGR
Charity lotteries allowed:
Yes, under strict conditions


Games of chance play a significant role for the Irish. With regards to lotteries, two laws are especially relevant.

First, there is the Gaming and Lotteries Act and the Betting Act, created in 1956. These laws created the most basic regulations for all types of games of chance. For people who wished to gamble these laws established a very controlled outlet. Also, it provides methods of fund-raising for charitable, philanthropic and other socially desirable purposes.

The second law, the National Lottery Act, established the National Lottery in the 1980s, as the government looked for new ways to fund social services. The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 prohibited all lotteries except for those serving a charitable purpose and introduced a cap on prizes at £ 500 (Irish pounds) a week for each lottery. The National Lottery, however, was exempted from any caps of prizes, as the Irish government created the National Lottery to generate funds for themselves. While the National Lottery does not strictly occupy a monopoly position, they do have one in practice as charity lotteries cannot grow much. Because of this, the National Lottery currently holds about 99 per cent of the entire lottery market, according to H2 Gambling Capital.

In addition to these laws, the Casino Control Board maintains oversight and has the authority to review all types of games of chance. However, market prohibitions in Ireland are unlikely in light of economic and employment factors given the size of the National Lottery.


In Ireland, there has been a tradition going back to the 1940s of charities using lottery games to raise funds. The cap as of £ 500 (Irish pounds) has increased several times. However, the National Lottery remains an effective monopoly, gained 99 per cent of the entire lottery market share. In 1997, the Minister for Finance responded to continued protests with the Charitable Lotteries Scheme. This Scheme provided a fund which effectively redistributed the surplus from the National Lottery to charity lotteries. The use and effectiveness of this Scheme, been reviewed and partly due to the severe budget cuts for the Irish central government, they announced a phase-out of the Scheme. Consequently, many charity lotteries have had to cease operations due to the losses of this phase-out. Examples are the previously largest charity lottery Rehab Lotteries and the lottery of the Irish Cancer Society.

It hasn’t been easy for charity lotteries to continue to operate, given how the Irish government bolsters the National Lottery. Nevertheless, there are still several organizations that also operate charity lotteries in Ireland to this day, such as the St. John of God Foundation, the Asthma Society of Ireland and Gael Linn.

St. John of God Foundation

Since 1960 this organization has been dedicated to raising funds to enrich the quality of life of people that have intellectual disabilities and mental health challenges. They continuously improve the standard of care for individuals in both Ireland and abroad.

As far as we know, no other active Irish lotteries exist that meet the criteria of a charity lottery. The National Lottery mentioned below does, however, distribute part of its sales to good causes.


In the past, the National Lottery was utterly Irish. Until 2013; the license subsequently awarded to a consortium of the incumbent An Post And Camelot Group. The latter is a British company and runs the National Lottery of the United Kingdom.

The consortium, called Premier Lotteries Ireland, paid € 405 million for a 20-year licence. The change also meant that 65% of gross gaming revenues (GGR: sales minus prizes) contributed to charities and non-profit groups. In 2019, for example, the total sales were 884.5 million, of which 251.6 million raised for good causes (around 28 per cent of the total sales).

The National Lottery offers scratch card games and draw games, such as lotto and EuroMillions. The lotto games are the most popular; in 2011 they represented half of the total sales. Also, the lottery has television shows such as TellyBingo and In The Spark. The new owners will attempt to grow the online sales and games branch. Currently, shops and other outlets are the most critical points of sale for the lottery.

In 2012, total sales amounted to € 735 million (↓3,5%). Around € 406,4 million (55,2%) paid out as prize money, and 30,5% (€ 225,3 million) donated to good causes in the categories mentioned above. Since its establishment in 1987, the lottery has raised € 4,2 billion for charities.