Premier Lotteries Ireland, the franchise that runs the national lottery, has reported a 12% increase in turnover for 2016 with sales hitting €750m. €422m of that was returned in prizes while €213m went to good causes. The lottery is operated by Premier Lotteries Ireland which was awarded a 20 year licence in 2014 having been operated by An Post since its creation in 1986. It is a consortium of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, An Post and An Post Pension Funds. 

Dermot Griffin, CEO of Premier Lotteries Ireland, said the threat to retailers of online gaming had not materialised. "The approach is to make it convenient for people to play. People that are downloading are also paying in shops so they are mixing it a bit."

The CEO rejected the notion that the online space might contribute to problem gambling saying the games were regulated and that the Lottery was very conscious of its responsibilities to make sure controls are in place. "There are controls across the board, including on our instant win games. We're independently audited to ensure our standards are world class," he said.

Dermot Griffin said the lottery contributed €213m to good causes in 2016. "It's a simple formula. We take the total sales and deduct the prizes and of the balance, 65% goes to good causes. The amount last year was up from €188m in the previous year. It equates to about 30% of our revenue," he explained.

Mr Griffin said new entrants that operate by facilitating betting on the outcome of the lottery games were unregulated here. "These operators are remote bookmakers that don't contribute to good causes. They are not regulated by the lottery regulator," he added.

MORNING BRIEFS - Fuel and forecourt retailer Applegreen has raised just shy of €47m after completing the placing of over 8 million shares at a price of €5.80 per share. The shares amount to about 10% of the company's issued share capital prior to the placing.

*** Shares in Ryanair are down again on the Dublin market this morning after they gave up all of Wednesday's gains yesterday. The share price - which has been under sustained pressure of late - gained around 3% in trade on Wednesday after the company reiterated its profit guidance as it announced a new wave of flight cancellations. But they shed 3.5% yesterday and this morning they are down just over 1% to €16.25.