Tokyo 2020 and strong retail recovery powers UK lottery growth as the amount generated for good causes tops £45 billion.
Camelot has announced its highest-ever first half National Lottery ticket sales of £3,961.4 million for the six month period 1 April to 25 September 2021 – an increase of £107.3 million (+2.7 percent) on last year. According to Camelot the growth was driven by the performance of draw-based games coupled with a steady retail recovery. The performance was further boosted by the brand connection to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The amount generated for Good Causes from ticket sales grew by +6.5 percent driven by strong draw games growth, while unclaimed prizes – which are handed over to Good Causes – were down -59.1 percent year-on-year. As a result, a total of £884.5 million was generated for Good Causes during the first half – up from £863.7 million last year. Returns to Good Causes since The National Lottery’s launch in 1994 have now exceeded £45 billion.
Welcoming the record first half, Camelot Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, commented: “I’m delighted to announce another record sales performance for The National Lottery. Crucially, this meant that we were able to deliver growth in returns to Good Causes, prizes paid to players, and Lottery Duty to the Treasury. Our profit was once again aligned with returns to Good Causes at the half-year stage and will be around 1 percent of sales for the full year in accordance with our licence. An incredible £45 billion has now been raised for National Lottery Good Causes – 65 percent more than the most optimistic Treasury forecasts at the time of launch.”
The period saw the National Lottery’s largest ever brand campaign in support of Tokyo 2020 – a summer-long programme that reminded players that, every time they play a National Lottery game, they directly support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes.
Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said: “With National Lottery sales up across the board and very high levels of public participation, we’ve once again proved that our strategy of offering great consumer choice in a safe and convenient way continues to deliver vital contributions to Good Causes across the UK. The National Lottery’s continued strong performance is testament to the resilient, responsive business model that we have put in place since our 2017 strategic review.”
Over the first six months of the year, The National Lottery awarded £2,274.5 million in prize money to players – up £30.6 million – and created 184 new millionaires. With approximately 1 percent of sales retained as profit by Camelot under the terms of its licence, and 4 percent spent on operating costs during the period, The National Lottery continued to return around 95 percent of all sales revenue to winners and society.
Sales of National Lottery Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games grew over the period by £28.6 million (+1.6 percent) to £1,733.3 million. As Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in-store Scratchcard sales increased 6.7 percent year-on-year while sales of online Instant Win Games were down -8.8 percent.
The recovery saw Camelot grow total in-store sales to £2,337.5 million – up £102.7m (+4.5 percent). Camelot said that it had successfully completed the implementation of the change to the age to play from 16 to 18 in April.
Digital innovation led to record online sales of £1,623.9 million in the first half – an increase of £4.6 million (+0.2 percent) compared to last year’s half-year uplift of +39.1 percent resulting from significant Covid-19 lockdown impact.
Camelot continued to invest in and promote its ‘Dream Big, Play Small’ portal. Over the six months, it said it had personalised interactions with players who showed signs of potentially unhealthy play, as well as delivering a programme of reducing play and wallet limits for the most at-risk players. As a result of this ongoing work, average digital weekly spend reduced year on year – with fewer than two online Instant Win Games played per person per week on average.