UK National Lottery sales break £8bn barrier

Camelot UK Lotteries Limited has reported record National Lottery sales of £8.4bn for the 2020/21 financial year. It is the first time that total National Lottery sales have surpassed £8bn in a year, marking a rise of £468.8m on 2019/20.

Camelot’s financial year runs 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 and despite the negative impact on sales from the pandemic last Spring, investment in the digital side of the business meant it recorded its highest ever digital sales, up 42.8 per cent to at £3.5bn.

In March 2020, the Camelot board approved an accelerated investment plan for the digital channel to ensure additional traffic could be accommodated.

Within digital, mobile sales grew by £876.4m to an all-time high of £2.48bn, with the majority of those sales coming via The National Lottery’s apps.

Camelot succeeded in growing sales of all six of its draw-based games to £4.7bn, an increase of £153.6m. This was primarily driven by Lotto, with a new feature introduced in November which means around a million players win an additional cash prize of £5.

Sales of Instants grew to £3.7bn. Growth in the sales of online instant games offset a decline in scratchcard sales which were down year-on-year due to lower retail footfall, particularly in the first half.

This growth was driven by digital player registrations, which were up by 2.7 million in the year. Average digital weekly spend remained broadly flat, up less than 3 per cent – with fewer than two online instant games played per person per week on average.

Camelot awarded a record £4.9bn in prizes to players, up £349.7m on 2019/20. It created 389 new millionaires.

In-store sales were £4.86bn – down from £5.45bn in 2019/20. Having been down 18.9 per cent at the half-year stage, retail sales recovered strongly in the second half.

This resulted in a decline in retail sales of 10.7 per cent for the year as a whole. Since the year-end, retail sales have now recovered to near pre-pandemic trading levels.

With unclaimed prizes factored in, £1.89bn was generated for Good Causes in 2020/21 – the equivalent of £36m every week.

Lottery Duty to government exceeded £1bn for the first time, which contributed to a record £3.1bn that was delivered to society through Good Causes returns, Lottery Duty, and retailer commission.

Camelot chairman Sir Hugh Robertson said: “This is the fourth consecutive year of rising sales since our strategic review in 2017. The National Lottery has delivered for the UK again this year, with the highest-ever returns for Good Causes from sales alone. A remarkable £1.2bn has been distributed to help the country respond to the impact of coronavirus. Without this money, many organisations would have ceased to function.”