Maximising the returns to good causes remains a top priority for the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), after the regulator praised the “incredible achievement” of the National Lottery in passing £40 billion raised across the UK.
From 1 April 2018 to 21 March 2019, Camelot – the UK National Lottery operator since it was launched in 1994 – generated £1,654.7 million for Good Causes, taking the total to more than £40 billion over the past 25 years. Funding has now been awarded to 565,000 individual projects – an average of 200 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
“This is an incredible achievement,” said UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur. 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.”
Camelot reported that ticket sales for the year were £7,206.8 million – an increase of £255.1 million on the corresponding figures for the previous year. This growth was driven by a number of factors such as record digital sales of £1,833.5 million, including an all-time high of £1,019.5 million through smartphones and tablets (55 per cent of digital sales).
Despite the digital increases, retail remains the largest National Lottery sales channel, with nearly 75 per cent (£5,373.3 million) of total sales coming through in-store terminals.
Camelot CEO Nigel Railton was appointed as part of the operator’s 2017 strategic review to arrest a downturn in lottery tickets sales and fundraising for national charities.
“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,” he said.
“Sales across most of the business are up – with our ongoing investment and innovation in retail and digital continuing to yield positive results. In particular, we’ve spent much of the last 12 to 18 months getting our draw-based games back in good health – with a more balanced portfolio that now offers something for everyone – and making improvements to our Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games in terms of product design, range, merchandising and availability, which has led to record sales of those games.
“We’ve also made excellent progress on our brand relevance – better connecting The National Lottery’s purpose with play – with the launch of our ‘Amazing Starts Here’ brand strategy and our ongoing partnership with ITV to ensure The National Lottery is a key fixture on primetime Saturday night TV. And we have some really exciting plans lined up with the other members of The National Lottery family over the coming months to thank players for the enormous contribution they’ve made over the past 25 years.
“Looking forward to next year, it will be very much more of the same – as we look to build on the steady progress that we’ve made across all areas of our business. Last year, we reviewed our player protection approach to ensure we went far beyond our licence requirements in fulfilling our responsibilities to consumers.
“In the coming year, we will continue to make our player protection activities best-in-class through our work to reduce excessive play, prevent underage play and promote safe play, as well as by working closely with partners such as GambleAware – as part of its Safer Gambling Campaign – and GamCare.
“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.”
Railton concluded: “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.”