The Catalan Government to launch a Christmas lottery to increase public revenue
Since 1986, the Catalan Government has its own lottery system, which brought a profit of €40 million last year. The Catalan lottery administration dedicates 60% of the revenue to prizes and the remaining 40% to finance public policies. In total, there are six lottery games, including scratch cards and lotto draws, but there are no specific draws for special days, as exists in the Spanish Government’s Christmas Lottery. After a proposal from representatives of shopkeepers’ associations, the Catalan Executive decided to launch a similar Christmas draw, with tickets worth 5 euros. 80% of the revenue will go towards prizes and 20% will finance children’s assistance programmes. €15 million will be put on sale. The opposition has been surprised by the initiative and stated they were hoping it was not the only measure to increase revenue.
Barcelona (ACN).- Catalonia will have its own Christmas lottery, which will be drawn on the 31st of December. The measure has been adopted after a proposal from representatives of shopkeepers’ associations and it aims to increase public revenue in order to fund children’s care programmes. Since 1986, the Catalan Government has had its own lottery system, which brought a profit of €40 million last year to pay for public programmes. The Catalan lottery administration dedicates 60% of the revenue to prizes and the remaining 40% to finance public policies. In total, there are currently six lottery games in place, including scratch cards and lotto draws. There are draws which take place two times a week, daily or even several times per day. However, the Catalan lottery does not have specific draws for special days, such as the Spanish Government’s Christmas Lottery, which is by far the draw with the highest turnover in Spain. From next September, tickets for the Catalan Government’s Christmas lottery will go on sale, at 5 euros each, cheaper than the Spanish equivalent, although the jackpot will be the same: €20,000 per each euro played. The Catalan lottery will also work like its Spanish equivalent; it will have 100,000 number combinations and each number will have 30 tickets available. Therefore, the winning number will give out 30 jackpots of €100,000. The opposition has been surprised by the initiative and stated they were hoping it will not be the only measure to increase revenue. The Spokesperson of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party (CiU), Jordi Turull, stated that “obviously” the initiative “is not the solution” to increase the Catalan Government’s revenue, but “that everything helps”. He welcomed “the very positive initiative” and accused the opposition of exaggerating.
The Barcelona-based newspaper El Periódico announced on its Thursday’s front-page that the Catalan Government will launch its own Christmas lottery draw. Sources of the Catalan Finance Ministry – which manages Catalonia’s Games and Gambling Agency – confirmed the news to CNA. Furthermore, the Secretary General of the Retail Confederation of Catalonia, Miquel Àngel Fraile, explained to the CNA it was originally their idea, which was well received by the Catalan Government. Fraile explained they aimed that “the money played on the Christmas lottery stayed in Catalonia”, showing the “shopkeepers” commitment with their “own people”. However, he admitted that creating an alternative to the extremely popular Spanish Christmas Lottery, “is not an easy task”.
A €15 million initiative with €3 million for children’s care programmes
Fraile explained that, in the first draw, tickets will be sold this year and create a total of €15million. Each ticket will cost €5 euros and the top prize will be €100,000, representing a prize of €20,000 for each euro played. In total there will be 100,000 numbers, with each number having 30 tickets available to buy. Therefore, each of the 30 tickets with the winning number will be awarded €100,000. Fraile explained that there will be 3 main prizes. In addition, the lottery will allocate 80% of the money to prizes and 20% to fund children’s care programmes. In the event that all the tickets are sold, the lottery will distribute €12 million in prizes and the remaining €3 million will fund the children’s programme. On the basis of the first draw, it will be decided if other draws are organised next year or for other special days, such as Sant Jordi (23rd April), Sant Joan (24th June) or Catalonia’s National Day (11th September).
The opposition is surprised by the initiative and hopes it is not the only way to increase revenue
Opposition parties have been surprised by the news. The parties not backing the Catalan Government have emphasised the limited effects of the initiative and said they were hoping it would not be the only measure adopted to increase public revenue. The Catalan Socialist Party’s Spokesperson (PSC), Jaume Collboni, was hoping that the initiative “does not substitute the needed debate on fiscal measures in Catalonia”. In addition, he deplored that “until now”, “it has been the only proposal that the Government has been able to propose to increase revenue”. The Spokesperson of the Catalan Green Socialist and Former Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA), Dolors Camats, stated that the news looked like “a bad joke”. Camats criticised the Catalan Government, in that it “does not talk” about how to stop “corruption and fiscal fraud”, but instead it proposes that “they way to get more revenue is a lottery”. The Spokesperson of the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party Ciutadans (C’s), Jordi Cañas, accused the Catalan Government of “tying its future to odds and gambling”. Finally, the People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, emphasised that the Catalan Government has “the competences to create lotteries”. However, the PP Spokesperson, Santi Rodríguez, considered the initiative was “an anecdote” and not “a real economic policy measure”. He also expressed discontent that the Catalan Government, which “wants to run away from Spain”, copies Spanish Government’s measures, such as the Christmas Lottery.