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Fall in money raised by National Lottery for good causes despite increase in ticket sales

05 Jun 2019 News

The amount of money raised through the National Lottery for good causes has dropped by £600,000, despite an increase in the total Camelot generates from ticket sales of £255.1m. 

Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, which operates the National Lottery, yesterday announced financial results for its year to 31 March 2019, with total ticket sales increasing to £7.2bn. 

But the total generated for good causes was £1.6bn, a decrease of £600,000. 

The increase in ticket sales has been driven by scratchcards and online instant win games, with ticket sales for these games amounting to £3.1bn up b £290m on the previous year. 

Meanwhile sales for draw-based games, which give a higher proportion of the ticket price to good causes, were £4.1bn, which was a fall a £35m on 2017/18. 

Returns for good causes on instant-win games are only 10p in the pound, while draw-based games are required to return 30p in the pound.  

Camelot came under parliamentary scrutiny in 2017 and 2018 following a National Audit Office report which found that its profits had risen by 122 per cent over seven years. But returns to good causes had risen by just 2 per cent in the same time period. 

The Public Accounts Committee held hearings and its final report, published in 2018, warned that returns to good causes were at risk. 

Camelot underwent a strategic review in November of 2017, with its long standing chief executive Andy Duncan having stood down that summer. Camelot has made a number of changes to the game in recent years. 

The National Lottery is the sixth largest lottery in the world by ticket sales. It spends around 4 per cent of total revenue on operating costs. 

Camelot has a license to run the National Lottery until 31 January 2023. 

Yesterday’s figures are subject to a final audit. 

£40bn raised for good causes

These latest figures bring the total amount raised for good causes since the start of the lottery in 1994 to £40bn. 

Money raised through the lottery is distributed to projects by 12 different funding bodies covering arts, sport, heritage and community projects. 

Nigel Railton, chief executive of Camelot, said: “As we celebrate 25 years of The National Lottery and the massive difference it has made to UK society – with an incredible £40 billion raised for Good Causes – I’m delighted to see our hard work paying off. Sales across most of the business are up – with our ongoing investment and innovation in retail and digital continuing to yield positive results.” 

He added that: “While we’ll continue to face economic uncertainty and increasing competition from the gambling and wider lotteries sectors – and while there is still a huge amount of work to do – I’m delighted that the foundations we’ve put in place and the initiatives we’ve already implemented are paying off. And with the innovative plans we have lined up, I’m confident that The National Lottery will continue to make a huge difference to the lives of people and communities throughout the UK.”

Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the National Lottery Community Fund and chair of the National Lottery Family Forum, said: “I am delighted that since its launch 25 years ago, The National Lottery has raised an incredible £40bn for good causes. 

“National Lottery players should feel proud of the difference they’ve made to communities across the UK. This money changes lives. 

“It strengthens our communities, powers our sports teams, protects the environment, unleashes creative talent and enhances quality of life for people across the whole country. 

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, added: “This is an incredible achievement - National Lottery players have now raised £40bn for good causes across the UK since it was launched in 1994. Ensuring that returns to good causes are maximised is a priority for us as regulator.  This will remain a priority as we look to the future and at how technology and innovation can ensure that the success of the National Lottery continues in the years ahead.”

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