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Europe: Just 10% of Lottery Revenues Is Used For Good Causes…Italy 5%

Lottery sales in European countries show that 82 billion euros are collected each year, on average. It’s a considerable fortune, but how much of those revenues are actually used for the benefit of society? Although the majority of those revenues are supposed to do so, a new study –commissioned by Unibet – shows that just 10% is set aside specifically for charity or good causes.

The most generous European countries are Portugal and Ireland, where 31% of lottery revenues are donated to charity. Of the two, Portugal is by far the larger in terms of revenue earned: €1,728 million for Portugal compared to €735 million for Ireland. The UK, with 25%, only comes fifth on the list, but is far ahead of Spain and France who only donate 2%, making them some of the least generous countries of the EU.

Surprisingly Portugal and Ireland come first on the list, even though the two countries had to face a deep economic crisis in recent years. For example, Portugal has now his all-time high debt of GDP (around 129%) and Ireland was the first state in the eurozone to enter recession, with an unemployment rate that rose from 6.5% in July 2008 to 14.8% in July 2012. Although economic problems, organizations such as the Portuguese “Jogos Santa Casa”, founded in 1493, take advantage of the lottery system where all proceeds go to good causes such as health, society, culture, and sports.

Other countries such as Italy, Spain and France, seem to be less generous. Italy donates a marginal 5% to charity and good causes, but the majority of the revenues goes to the state treasury, and other parts go to the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, the sports sector, and several smaller cultural and social activities.

Spain only donates a marginal 2 percent, but this money does go to a variety of NGOs, including well-known organizations such as the Red Cross, or in the case of ONCE, blind and disabled members of their organization.

In France, the main beneficiary of lottery funding is sport sector, where the National Sports Development Centre, relies for 80% of its budget on the income from “La Française des Jeux” lottery games operator. Similarly, De Lotto in the Netherlands gives 73% of its donations to the Dutch Olympic Committee.

Finland focuses more on culture, where the profits of state-owned Veikkaus is used to promote Finnish culture in the areas of arts, science, sports and youth work.

Overall, we can assume that in Europe the percentage of revenues given to charity is not that high, even though it is a large amount of money. More could be done, especially in a delicate economic period, when more and more people need help. Lottery revenues are huge, and governments should donate as much as possible to benefit society.

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