2019 was another record breaking revenue earning year for the National Lotteries Authority, Finance & Economic Planning Minister Camillo Gonsalves disclosed in the House of Parliament last Wednesday.

He was at the time responding to a question posed by Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday as to what portion of the NLA’s recently announced gross revenues are spent on projects and programmes and what were the major projects and programmes supported.

In his response MP Gonsalves said “the National Lotteries Authority recorded gross sales of $68, 8081,785.00 for the financial year ended July 31st 2019, that’s the August 1st 2018 to July 31st 2019. Of this amount 76 per cent goes towards direct expenses as follows: prizes and expenses account for 55 per cent of those earnings or 37.9 million dollars , management fees account for 10 percent or 6.9 million dollars, agents’ commissions, 8 percent or $5.5 million other direct expenses 2 million dollars.”

All told direct expenses amount to some 52.3 million dollars for that fiscal year.
“Of the remaining 16.5 million dollars approximately 4.8 million goes towards selling, general and administrative expenses, approximately 9 million goes towards contribution and support for numerous projects and programmes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A primary one, Mr. Speaker, being that of carnival and carnival activities and cultural activities which collectively account for about 3.1 million dollars. Other activities are the interschool games, National Sports Council, sporting activities generally. Sporting activities that receive Lottery funding in 2019 are cricket, netball, swimming, athletics, football, tennis, fishing, gymnastics, squash, motor sports, cycling, basket ball other sporting activities for a total of $907 000.00,” Gonsalves disclosed further.

Dr. Friday sought and was given further clarity as to the fact that it was only “9 million dollars that goes into programs of the 68 million, 69 million dollars that’s raised.”
Other cost centres include “projects, playing field expenses and educational and medical costs,” the Finance Minister also said. Projects in 2019 that the NLA would have spent on “included the Union Island hard court rehabilitation, the construction of the Choppins hard court complex, the London playing field pavilion, the Villa tennis facility, the Chilli playing field, the Fair Hall hard court and maintenance of existing projects that are under the supervision of the National Lotteries Authority,” according to Gonsalves.

“I wish to congratulate the management and leadership of the National Lotteries authority for their phenomenal growth in recent years. We were hearing this announcement of a number close to 70 million dollars this year, last year was also a record revenue year for the lottery which was on the order of 60 million dollars and the year prior to that was also a record year so I wish to – and this is an entity that is well run well managed and generally not interfered with by the executive and I wish to congratulate the leadership for their wonderful work in making the National Lotteries the power that it is today for sports, culture and education in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the Finance Minister concluded.

Speaking at a sod turning ceremony to mark the official recognition of the construction phase of the Diamond Athletics Track on Friday, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves intimated that he has requested some 5 million dollars from the NLA coffers to be spent on more sporting facilities nationwide for this year.