More than £1.8bn was received by the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) during 2021-22, according to the fund’s annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2022.
Total income for the year was up marginally on 2020-21, while investment income more than doubled in 2021-22 to £2.6m. The accounts said the increase in investment income was due to an increase in the average interest rate on deposits in 2021-22 to 0.19% from 0.10% the year before.
Meanwhile, the amount held for the National Lottery’s distributing bodies increased by £300m during the year to £2.5bn as of March 2022.
According to the NLDF’s accounts, the National Lottery Community Fund saw a £135m increase in balance available from the National Lottery, while the Heritage Lottery Fund saw a £98m increase.
'Resilient' despite pandemic
The accounts said that National Lottery sales proved to be “very resilient” throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. “Tickets sales via retail and online now exceed pre-pandemic levels,” it said.
It stated sales were heavily supported by positive performance in the core Lotto game, which was aided by a number of key events such as the regular ‘Must Be Won’ draws, and particularly strong sales for EuroMillions.
But it said: “There is not a linear relationship between ticket sales and income generated for the NLDF. This is a result of the way the current (third) National Lottery licence operates, where each type of lottery product returns varying proportions to good causes.”
Up to and including the 2021-22 financial year, the National Lottery has generated £43.7 billion for good causes since its launch in 1994.
Gambling Commission enforcement action
The fund is currently operated by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited under licence from the Gambling Commission.
On 15 March 2022, the Gambling Commission announced a preferred applicant, Allwyn, to operate the 4th National Lottery licence, from 1 February 2024 onwards. Camelot has held the licence for 28 years and is now challenging the Gambling Commission’s decision at the High Court.
That same month, the Gambling Commission decided to take enforcement action against Camelot related to failures in its mobile app between 2016 and 2020 and determined a fine of £3.15 million.
Some of these failures related to the app sending out marketing messages to app users who had either self-excluded through Gamstop or had been identified by Camelot as showing signs of gambling harm.
Operationally, the NLDF is part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). All NLDF's staff are employees of DCMS and therefore there are no figures for remuneration in the accounts.