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National Lottery says ticket sales and returns to good causes have increased

15 Nov 2018 News

Both ticket sales and returns to good causes have risen, according to half-yearly results for the National Lottery, which have been published today, but Camelot would not discuss profits in the same time period. 

The figures show that, in the first six months of the 2018/19 financial year – between 1 April and 29 September 2018 – ticket sales rose by 5.4 per cent to over £3.4bn compared to the first half of 2017/18 and returns to good causes increased by 6.2 per cent to £793.2m. Camelot said this was an extra £46.5m going to good causes compared to the first half of 2017/18. 

A spokeswoman for Camelot said the organisation “doesn’t publish profit figures with our half-year sales figures”.

In its most recent set of accounts for the 2017/18 financial year, Camelot reported pre-tax profits of £84.4m, after-tax profits of £68.4m. It reported sales of £6.9bn; returns to good causes of £1.6bn and £3.9bn in prizes. 

The operator of the National Lottery, Camelot came under intense parliamentary scrutiny earlier in the year, when The Public Accounts Committee convened hearings following a National Audit Office report which found that Camelot's profits had risen by 122 per cent in seven years. By comparison, returns to good causes had risen by just 2 per cent in the same time period.

The committee published its final report in April 2018, which found that the future of returns to good causes from the National Lottery was under threat, despite Camelot’s record profits. 

The Big Lottery Fund’s annual accounts for the year ending 31 March 2018, published in the summer, showed that grants recieved from the National Lottery had fallen by almost £200m to £520m in the 2017/18 financial year. 

Camelot underwent a strategic review in November of 2017, and its long standing chief executive Andy Duncan stepped down in the summer of 2017. His replacement, Nigel Railton, has since presided over a return to growth in terms of ticket sales in the second half of the last financial year. 

Speaking about the latest set of half-year sales results, Railton said: “Everyone at Camelot is committed to ensuring that this success story continues, so we’ll be looking to build on this momentum by continuing to focus on those areas that we identified in the review. We’ll continue to make improvements across our retail and digital channels, and build on the good headway we’ve made to date in making The National Lottery brand more relevant and visible.

“While there is much work still to do – and while we’ll continue to face challenges that are beyond our control, such as economic uncertainty and unrelenting competition from both the gambling sector and industrial-scale society lotteries that operate on a national basis – I’m very encouraged by the further progress we’ve made over the first half of this year. 

“I’m confident that the strong foundations we’ve put in place and the exciting plans we have lined up will help us deliver even more for our players and the millions of people for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial.”

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