Camelot UK Lotteries Limited (‘Camelot’) today announced its highest-ever first-half National Lottery ticket sales of £3,961.4 million for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year (1 April to 25 September 2021) – an increase of £107.3 million (+2.7%) on last year. This growth was driven by a strong draw-based games performance – particularly on Lotto, which is now in its third successive year of growth – as well as a steady retail recovery. This performance was further boosted by the unmissable National Lottery brand connection to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The amount generated for Good Causes from ticket sales grew by +6.5% driven by strong draw games growth, while unclaimed prizes – which are handed over to Good Causes – were down -59.1% year-on-year. As a result, a total of £884.5 million was generated for Good Causes during the first half – up from £863.7 million last year (+2.4%). Returns to Good Causes since The National Lottery’s launch in 1994 have now exceeded £45 billion.
Welcoming the record first half, Camelot Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, commented: “I’m delighted to announce another record sales performance for The National Lottery. Crucially, this meant that we were able to deliver growth in returns to Good Causes, prizes paid to players, and Lottery Duty to the Treasury. Our profit was once again aligned with returns to Good Causes at the half-year stage and will be around 1% of sales for the full year in accordance with our licence. An incredible £45 billion has now been raised for National Lottery Good Causes – 65% more than the most optimistic Treasury forecasts at the time of launch.”
A key strand of activity over the half year was The National Lottery’s largest-ever brand campaign for Tokyo 2020 – a summer-long programme that reminded players that, every time they play a National Lottery game, they directly support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes. Camelot then went further to make the connection between ‘play and purpose’ by devising and staging two National Lottery Homecoming events at Wembley Arena. These were broadcast at primetime on BBC One and Channel 4, and gave thousands of National Lottery players a chance to welcome home their Olympic and Paralympic heroes with a stellar line-up of live entertainment. As a result, National Lottery brand positivity once again rose to the high levels seen during the initial National Lottery Community Fund Covid-19 funding commitment made in the first lockdown.
Announcing the results, Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said: “With National Lottery sales up across the board and very high levels of public participation, we’ve once again proved that our strategy of offering great consumer choice in a safe and convenient way continues to deliver vital contributions to Good Causes across the UK. The National Lottery’s continued strong performance is testament to the resilient, responsive business model that we have put in place since our 2017 strategic review. Lotto is a great barometer for the overall health of The National Lottery so I’m really proud that, as a result of the series of Lotto enhancements we’ve made, we continue to be one of the only major operators in the world to be growing sales of our flagship game. That – paired with a steady retail recovery and our summer-long campaign celebrating the contribution of National Lottery players in helping propel our Olympians and Paralympians to success – all added up to a record first-half performance.”
Over the first six months of the year, The National Lottery awarded £2,274.5 million in prize money to players – up £30.6 million – and created 184 new millionaires. With approximately 1% of sales retained as profit by Camelot under the terms of its licence, and 4% spent on operating costs during the period, The National Lottery continued to return around 95% of all sales revenue to winners and society.
The majority of the first-half National Lottery sales increase was driven by Camelot growing sales of draw-based games to £2,228.1 million – up £78.7 million (+3.6%). This saw year-on-year growth across all draw games as a result of its balanced portfolio – which offers prices and prizes to suit different tastes, and special event draws and game features that drive player engagement and excitement.
This diverse offering meant that, even though EuroMillions saw far fewer rollovers than normal – causing a drag on growth in the first half – Lotto was able to drive participation with a steady drumbeat of ‘Must Be Won’ draws. These continue to grow in popularity, particularly as players experience the ‘Rolldown’ feature – Camelot’s unique game innovation which means that, if the jackpot is not won outright, it is shared out among all prize winners, resulting in boosted prize amounts for everyone. This feature typically sees over a million boosted cash prizes in a ‘Rolldown’ draw, and more than 20 million tickets have won £5 for matching just two main numbers since Camelot introduced this new prize amount just over a year ago – fostering player positivity and engagement.
And, with its top prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years, Set For Life continues to exceed sales expectations and bring in new players who are motivated by a monthly cash injection to fulfil their hobbies and passions.
Elsewhere, sales of National Lottery Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games grew over the period by £28.6 million (+1.6%) to £1,733.3 million. With these sales being largely incremental to draw-based games, a strong retail recovery as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted meant that in-store Scratchcard sales were up +6.7% year-on-year while sales of online Instant Win Games were down -8.8% – although Scratchcard sales still remain down on pre-pandemic levels as shopping habits continue to evolve.
This same recovery saw Camelot grow total in-store sales to £2,337.5 million – up £102.7m (+4.5%). As a result, first-half retailer commission increased to £133.0 million – up £6.5 million (+5.1%) and the equivalent of around £3,000 per store. Retail remains the largest National Lottery sales channel and Camelot works closely with around 44,000 retailers across the UK, with independent outlets making up the majority. Its in-store National Lottery standards programme for independent retailers has continued to prove enormously successful, with £288,000 in cash rewards – over and above their retail commission – awarded to independent shopkeepers in the first half of the year. Additionally, retailer satisfaction scores continue to track at their highest-ever level.
Camelot has also continued to forge new retail partnerships to reflect changes in the way people shop, which saw it complete rollouts with Aldi and Iceland in the first six months of 2021/22. These two partnerships see National Lottery draw-based games available ‘in lane’ in around 1,900 stores, driving convenience purchases at checkout tills. Camelot also successfully completed the implementation of the change to the age to play The National Lottery from 16 to 18 in April – well in advance of the change in legislation which came into force in October and in close co-operation with its retail partners, who have been doing a vital job of highlighting the age change to their customers.
Camelot's continued digital innovation once again led to record online sales of £1,623.9 million in the first half – an increase of £4.6 million (+0.2%) compared to last year’s half-year uplift of +39.1% resulting from significant Covid-19 lockdown impact. As part of this, mobile sales grew by £21.3 million (+1.8%) to an all-time high of £1,150.0 million – reflecting the wider, ever-increasing shift to mobile shopping. This growth was also accompanied by over 795,000 new online registrations – backing up the wider trend that, as the UK comes through the pandemic and shopping habits adapt, people are continuing to shop interchangeably between online and in retail depending on day-to-day convenience, meaning that online National Lottery sales are complementary to in-store sales.
In line with its longstanding commitment to player protection – which encourages lots of people to play but to individually only spend relatively small amounts – Camelot continued to invest in and promote its ‘Dream Big, Play Small’ portal. Over the six months, it had personalised interactions with the very small proportion of players who showed signs of potentially unhealthy play, as well as delivered a programme of reducing play and wallet limits for the most at-risk players. As a result of this ongoing work, average digital weekly spend has reduced year on year – with fewer than two online Instant Win Games played per person per week on average.
CEO Nigel Railton continued: “We’ve got the year off to a fantastic start and, even though we face a potentially challenging external environment, I am confident that we continue to offer excellent value for money for players. This is done primarily through our games, which have been designed to have generous and varied prizes, but we’re always looking for ways to deliver even more benefit – through initiatives like the recent National Lottery Revive Live Tour and National Lottery Cinema Weekend, which offered discounted and free tickets to National Lottery players for selected live gigs and the cinema. It’s this enhanced value proposition that keeps The National Lottery front of mind – driving mass participation, sales and, ultimately, returns to Good Causes.”
“This record first half shows that The National Lottery continues to be in its best-ever shape as it delivers for Good Causes, players, retailers and Treasury. Following four years of sales growth, including record results last year, I am extremely grateful to my colleagues and the wider National Lottery family of Good Causes distributors and retailers for their role in this ongoing success story.”
- Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of The National Lottery® and is committed to raising money for National Lottery Good Causes designated by Parliament. Camelot is not responsible for distributing or awarding these funds.
- Under Camelot’s operation, The National Lottery generates over £30 million each week for National Lottery-funded projects. In total, over £45 billion has now been raised and more than 660,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 235 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
- As well as contributing to truly world-class arts, sports and heritage projects of which the whole nation can be proud, The National Lottery is continuing to make a massive difference at a local level. With 70% of grants being for £10,000 or less, it is giving small, grassroots community projects a real boost at a time when other sources of funding are being, or face being, cut.
- The total amount generated for Good Causes over the first half of 2021/22, including unclaimed prizes and other contributions, was £884.5 million. This figure excludes investment returns on National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) balances and is before the deduction of any NLDF investment amounts. Of the total amount generated for Good Causes over the period, £39.4 million was retained and deployed by Camelot for necessary marketing expenditure for the core draw-based games – Lotto, EuroMillions and Set For Life – and The National Lottery brand under investment proposals approved by the Gambling Commission under Condition 23 of the National Lottery Section 5 Licence.
- The National Lottery has so far awarded over £83 billion in prizes and created more than 6,300 millionaires or multi-millionaires since its launch in 1994.
- Camelot runs one of the most cost-efficient major lotteries in Europe, with around 4% of total revenue spent on operating costs.
- To date, Camelot’s retail partners have earned over £7.3 billion in total sales commission.
- Since 1994, The National Lottery has paid £19.0 billion to Treasury in Lottery Duty.
- The UK National Lottery is ranked just 60th in the world in terms of per capita spend, despite being the fifth largest lottery in the world by sales – underlining the ongoing effectiveness of Camelot’s strategy to encourage lots of people to play but to only spend relatively small amounts (Source: La Fleur’s 2021 World Lottery Almanac).
- With over 9.8 million active registered players, national-lottery.co.uk is the largest digital lottery in the world by revenue and one of the leading e-commerce sites in the UK.
- For further information on Camelot, The National Lottery and its games, please visit: www.camelotgroup.co.uk and www.national-lottery.co.uk
- Players of all National Lottery games must be aged 18 or over.
For further information, please contact:
Camelot Press Office: 020 7632 5711