A test National Lottery game is held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham before a specially invited audience.

Details of how the National Lottery will work were explained at a special preview game held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin. The event presented by Gay Byrne was attended by a host of celebrities including Johnny Logan and Bernadette Greevy.

Tickets for the lottery cost £1 each and will be available from 3,000 approved retailers around the country. All is revealed when the punter scratches a latex film off the play area to reveal six panels, each containing a cash amount or a star symbol. If three of these amounts match, the player wins that amount instantly. If the play panel area reveals three stars, the player is entitled to enter for the weekly Grand Prize Game.

Prizes for amounts up to £10 can be claimed from the retail agent on the spot, while prizes from £50 to £5,000 can be redeemed at any one of 51 head post offices around the country.  The chance of winning one of these daily cash prizes is one in nine.

A ticket with three stars qualifies the player to enter for the Grand Prize Game. In this game five people are selected to spin the wheel and the top prize will be £250,000, with a minimum prize of £5,000. In addition, there is a shooting star prize with a top value of £100,000.

Those attending the preview had to pass a peaceful picket formed by ex-employees of the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstakes protesting about their redundancy payments. None of the £1.4 million paid to their old employer by the government to vacate its Ballsbridge premises is being allocated to former staff.

The National Lottery is expected to generate £25 million in ticket sales in its first year.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 March 1987. The reporter is Joe O’Brien.