The amount generated for good causes by the National Lottery has increased slightly to £1.88bn during the pandemic year.
According to figures released yesterday by Camelot, which runs the National Lottery, the total amount generated for good causes increased by around £30m.
In the year to 31 March 2021 £1.88bn was raised for good causes, this includes the portion of ticket prices set aside for good causes as well as unclaimed prizes, compared to £1.85bn for good causes in 2019-2020.
Total sales for the National Lottery over the year surpassed £8bn for the first time. This marks an increase of £468.8m and is the fourth consecutive year of rising sales.
Therefore, both ticket sales and money to good causes increased, but at a slower rate than last year. The ticket sale increase was over 5% while the increase in funds to good causes was nearing 2%.
Last year ticket sales increased by over 9% while funds given to good causes grew by 12%.
Hugh Robertson, Camelot UK Lotteries Limited chair, said: “The National Lottery has delivered for the UK again this year, with the highest-ever returns for good causes from sales alone. A remarkable £1.2bn has been distributed to help the country respond to the impact of coronavirus. Without this money, many organisations would have ceased to function.
“This has been achieved by making the right strategic calls as a business alongside the support of players and the wider National Lottery family.”
Camelot underwent a strategic review in November 2017, after a National Audit Office report found that its profits had risen by 122% over seven years while returns to good causes only grew by 2%.
Although the National Lottery is currently run by Camelot, which has held the licence to operate the National Lottery since 1994, the license is due to expire on 31 January 2023.
An Italian company recently launched a bid to run the National Lottery, together with Barnardo’s.
The Gambling Commission will make a decision about who will run the National Lottery later this year.
Highest ever digital sales
Camelot said sales grew in all six of its draw-based games, increasing by £153.6m.
Due to the pandemic lockdowns people were asked to only leave their homes for limited reasons, and the National Lottery recorded its highest ever digital sales at more than £3.5bn, an increase of around 42.8%.
In March 2020, the Camelot board approved an accelerated investment plan for the digital channel to ensure additional traffic could be accommodated.
Within digital, mobile sales grew by £876.4m to an all-time high of £2.4bn with the majority of these sales via The National Lottery’s apps.
Nigel Railton, Camelot chief executive, said: “In what has been an extraordinarily challenging year, The National Lottery has demonstrated incredible resilience and flexibility to achieve this record performance. These results are a culmination of all of the work we’ve done over the last few years in the areas of brand, games, retail and digital.”
Camelot has 44,000 retail partners. In-store sales were down 18.9% at the half-year stage, but retail sales recovered somewhat in the second half. This resulted in a decline in retail sales of 10.7% for the year as a whole.
Since the year-end, Camelot said retail sales have now recovered to near pre-pandemic trading levels.