Camelot UK Lotteries has revealed the UK National Lottery was able to generate a record £7.91bn (€8.90bn/$9.90bn) in total ticket sales in its 2019-20 fiscal year, aided by significant year-on-year growth from its digital offering.
Overall sales in the 12 months to 31 March 2020 were up 9.7% from £7.21bn in the same period in the previous year, with Camelot, which currently operates the National Lottery, seeing growth across a number of areas.
Investment in digital channels led to record online sales of £2.46bn, up 34.0% on last year and a result that marked the first time sales for Camelot’s online offering surpassed £2.0bn.
Much of this came from the National Lottery’s mobile products, for which sales rose 57.5% year-on-year to £1.61bn, another record figure. For the year, sales for smartphone and tablet prdoucts accounted for 65.0% of the digital channel’s total.
Camelot also noted that with 7.5m million active registered players, the National Lottery site is Europe’s largest online lottery in terms of sales.
Looking at retail, sales for this segment were up 1.4% to £5.45bn, meaning that it remains the main source of income for Camelot and the National Lottery.
Total sales of draw-based games during the 12-month period were up £455.3m to £4.54bn, which Camelot said was down to effort create a more compelling and distinct range of games.
Camelot noted that draw-based games sales continued to be helped by changes made to the Lotto in November 2018, including larger cash prizes and ‘Must Be Won’ draws where the jackpot is often shared among all cash prize winners, as well as strong sales for the EuroMillions and the new Set For Life game
In-store scratchcards and online instant win sales also increased by £243.0m to £3.37bn, which Camelot said was partly due to the introduction of a wider range of games, including a 25th birthday product as well as titles based on popular TV shows Friends and Love Island.
Over the course of the year, £4.51bn was awarded as prizes to players, up £376.5m on the previous year, creating 355 new millionaires in the process. This included awarding £170m EuroMillions jackpot to a player in October 2019.
Total returns to good casuses in the year, meanwhile, rose to £1.85bn, when excluding investment returns on National Lottery Distribution Fund balances. Of this, £56.6m was used for marketing expenditure, as agreed with the Gambling Commission.
Camelot said that when combined with Lottery Duty it pays to the government and the commission earned by its retail partners, it returns around 95% of all sales revenue to winners and society.
“Three years on from our strategic review, we are seeing growth across all areas of the business; crucially, our best-ever sales performance has delivered a £200 million boost to Good Causes at a time when the UK needs it most,” Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said.
Railton also pointed out that the National Lottery was able to put together a support package worth up to £600m for charities and organisations negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in April this year.
“Like many businesses, Camelot has seen disruption as a result of the pandemic – particularly in retail,” Railton said. “But, thanks to a combination of the foundations we’ve laid over the last three years and some urgent interventions to respond to the current situation, our sales are currently proving resilient.
“That’s not to say there is no impact, but the business is adapting and continuing to adjust well to the changing situation. We’re also keeping the government and our partners at the National Lottery Distributors up to date on a weekly basis.”
Considering the long-term impact of Covid-19 on National Lottery sales, Railton said with ongoing uncertainty in the UK, the year ahead will be challenging for Camelot and the Lottery, but he is confident that the business will continue to succeed.
“I’m very confident that we’re in great shape to meet those challenges – and that we have the strong track record, creativity and determination required to continue generating vital funds for those who need it most in the UK,” Railton said.
“All of us at Camelot are fully aware of the important role that we play every single day, and I feel immensely privileged to be part of an institution that makes a real difference.”
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