The UK National Lottery, run by Camelot, has been able to report record sales of some £7.91billion for the 2019-20 financial year with the gains put down to the surge in digital gambling.
Total sales for the year to March 31 had risen 9.7% year on year from the £7.21billion reported in 2018-19, Camelot reported growth in a number of different areas.
Digital Channels to Thank for Large Increases
Camelot’s investment in digital channels has led to the record online revenue, accounting for £2.46billion of ticket sales which is up fully 34% on last year, a result that means online sales have risen beyond £2billion for the first time.
The majority of online sales came from the National Lottery’s array of mobile products, revenue for those rising 57.5% versus last year to £1.61billion. Across the whole financial year, sales via tablets and smartphones ultimately accounted for 65% of the total of digital sales. Within the sales report, Camelot also stated that there are now 7.5million active registered players online.
Retail Lottery Sales Still on the Rise
Sales within the retail sector were themselves up 1.4% to £5.45billion, something that means over the counter sales remain the main source of revenue for Camelot and in particular the National Lottery.
Draw-based games, i.e. lottery draws as opposed to scratch cards, grew by £455.3million to £4.54billion, due according to the organisers to a more distinct and compelling range of games.
Draw-based games revenue continues it seems to be boosted by changes made to the Lotto back in November 2018, including bigger prizes and the popular ‘must be won’ games whereby any jackpot has to be paid out and can be shared among various winners.
Retail sales of scratch card games went up by £243million to over £3.3billion which is due in part to the introduction of a more disparate set of games, including the 25th birthday offering and titles based on TV shows such as Love Island and Friends.
Money Shared Fairly Between Prize Winners and Good Causes
Across the reporting year Camelot says that £4.51billion was given out in prize money to players, a figure up £376.5million on 2018-19, an amount that created 355 more millionaires. This figure includes the £170million jackpot won by one player on the EuroMillions draw in October 2019.
Returns to good causes during the year climbed by £1.85billion, a figure that excludes investment returns on National Lottery Distribution Fund balances. Of this amount £56.6million was dedicated to marketing, a sum agreed with the Gambling Commission.
The organisers of the lottery have said that, when combined with Lottery Duty owed to the government as well as commission earned by its retail partners for over the counter sales, Camelot returns around 95% of all lottery sales income to society and to prize winners.
This latest growth in sales comes three years after Camelot conducted a strategic review, the firm since then having seen an increase in all areas of its business. Their best-ever sales performance means that the amount going the way of good causes has risen by £200million and comes at a time, it can be argued, that the UK needs it most.
How such figures are reported by government in the future is of course a concern, as a cynical person may think that such amounts are used to partially mask the effects of Brexit as well as the cost of fighting COVID-19.