National Lottery returns to Good Causes fall £600,000 as sales rise 3.7%

National Lottery returns to Good Causes fell by £600,000 over the last year as sales increased by 3.7% to £7.2 billion, operator Camelot has reported.

Camelot revealed that EuroMillions and Lotto sales were “slightly down” over the year – EuroMillions as a result of fewer rollover draws of more than £100 million – but hailed “good progress” as it announced that overall sales grew by £255.1 million.

Total returns to Good Causes fell to £1.6 billion, with £39 million of this directed into “necessary marketing expenditure” in agreement with the Gambling Commission.

Camelot said growth was driven by record sales through smartphones and tablets to £1 billion, accounting for 55% of all National Lottery digital sales.

Sales across the National Lottery’s range of Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games also reached a record £3.1 billion.

However retail remained the largest channel, with almost 75% of total sales coming through in-store terminals.

In September, Camelot announced that it was increasing the prize pots for matching five or more balls plus the bonus ball to a fixed £1 million from an estimated £50,000 for its Lotto game after a slump in ticket sales.

Another new game offers winners a regular amount of money every month for a certain number of years.

The changes were made in response to an in-depth review launched in 2017 after sales dropped 8.8% in 2016/17 compared with the previous period.

The review found that, when Lotto changed in 2015 so gamblers have to pick six numbers from 59, compared with choosing from 49 before, the game resembled its high-stakes sibling EuroMillions too closely because it became harder to win.

Camelot chief executive Nigel Railton said: “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.

“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.

“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.”