The Government has announced the terms of sale for the National Lottery.

The State hopes to raise hundreds of millions of euro by selling a licence to operate the lottery over a 20-year period.

The level of money for good causes will be maintained at 30% of lottery sales.

By selling the lottery licence over a 20-year period and seeking an upfront payment, the Government hopes to raise significant funds to put towards the National Children's Hospital.

Legislation detailing the proposals is due to be published by July and the Government aims to have it enacted by October.

Bids for the new licence, which is due to begin in July 2013, will be sought early next year.

An Post said today that it was looking forward to "actively competing for the new lottery licence".

Camelot, which runs the UK lottery, said it welcomed today's announcement and was glad to hear the Government was moving forward.

An Post National Lottery Company is the holder of the current licence, which it won in a tendering process in late 2001.

The licence was due to end last year, but the Government extended it until June 2013 to give them time to make changes to the licensing process.