Camelot UK Lotteries Limited (‘Camelot’) announced its third successive year of sales growth following the company’s wide-ranging strategic review carried out in 2017. A quarter of a century on from launch in November 1994, Camelot grew National Lottery ticket sales for the 2019/20 financial year (1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020) by £698.3 million (+9.7%) – reaching a record £7,905.1 million.
The UK National Lottery is ranked just 59th in the world in terms of per capita spend, despite being the fifth largest lottery in the world by sales – underlining Camelot’s strategy to encourage lots of people to play but to only spend relatively small amounts (Source: La Fleur’s 2020 World Lottery Almanac).
Over the same period, Camelot generated returns to Good Causes of £1,853.1 million – an increase of £198.4 million (+12%), which is even more significant at this critical time as National Lottery Distributors continue to fund vital work across the UK. This commitment will see up to £600 million of National Lottery funding being directed towards UK charities and organisations to help tackle the impact of COVID-19.
Record sales give £200 million boost to Good Causes supporting the National Lottery’s £600 million COVID-19 response. Camelot Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, commented: “Thanks to this crisis relief package, hundreds of millions of pounds in vital funding has been repurposed to help those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic – providing, among other things, much-needed aid for communities, grants for sport initiatives to keep people fit and healthy, and assistance for thousands of other projects that are in desperate need of funding during this time. Anyone who has bought a National Lottery ticket should know they’ve played their part in making this possible.”
Announcing the results, Camelot CEO, Nigel Railton, said: “Three years on from our strategic review, we are seeing growth across all areas of the business. Crucially, our best-ever sales performance has delivered a £200 million boost to Good Causes at a time when the UK needs it most.”
Camelot’s sales performance in 2019/20 means that The National Lottery continues to generate over £30 million week in, week out for Good Causes across the UK. With the amount also delivered to government through Lottery Duty, this rises to more than £50 million a week for society. And it takes the total raised for Good Causes since 1994 to over £41 billion – 60% more than the most optimistic government forecast at the time. National Lottery funding has now been awarded to more than 565,000 individual projects – more than 200 lottery grants, on average, in every UK postcode district.
Over the course of the year, £4,505.0 million was awarded in prizes to National Lottery players,
£376.5 million more than last year, and 355 new millionaires were created – including the UK’s biggest-ever winner, an anonymous ticket-holder who scooped a £170 million EuroMillions jackpot in October 2019. During the year, prizes worth more than an extra £1 million a day, on average, were won. The National Lottery has now awarded over £75 billion in prize money and created more than 5,700 millionaires or multi-millionaires since 1994. Combined with the Lottery Duty it pays to the government and the commission earned by its retail partners, Camelot continues to return around 95% of all sales revenue to winners and society – one of the highest percentages of lottery sales revenue given back in the world.
Camelot succeeded in growing sales across the board in 2019/20 alongside its longstanding commitment to player protection. During the year, the company invested heavily in its online healthy play tools through the launch of its ‘Dream Big, Play Small’ portal on the National Lottery website. It also became the first lottery operator to achieve Advanced Level 2 of GamCare’s Safer Gambling Standard for its online and retail operations.
Distinct portfolio of games
Camelot grew total sales of draw-based games by £455.3 million to £4,537.1 million, driven by improvements made to create a more compelling and distinct range of games. As players continue to experience the benefits of the changes made to Lotto in November 2018 (including bigger, fixed cash prizes and regular ‘Must Be Won’ draws where the jackpot is often shared among all cash prize winners), the company saw an increase in sales of the game – making Camelot one of the few operators globally to be growing its flagship lotto game. With a record roll series, EuroMillions also had an exceptional year, while The National Lottery’s newest game, Set For Life – which has so far created 16 winners of its top prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years – continues to grow in popularity and exceed sales expectations.
The company also grew sales of National Lottery Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games over the period by £243.0 million to £3,368.0 million. This follows work to give players a wider range of differently-priced products with varying themes – including a special 25th birthday game, as well as Friends and Love Island-themed games.
Ongoing retail investment and support
Accounting for nearly 70% of all ticket sales, retail remains the largest National Lottery sales channel. Despite the ongoing challenges in the retail environment, Camelot grew in-store sales by £74.3 million to £5,447.6 million over the 12 months – underlining the effectiveness of the work it has been carrying out to support its retail partners. As a result, National Lottery retailers, many of them small independent businesses, earned £307.1 million in commission over the period – an average of around £7,000 per store. Camelot has also made progress on implementing initiatives that reflect the shifting retail landscape. More than 150 Aldi stores now sell National Lottery products and the company’s trial with Iceland is progressing well. In addition, having made National Lottery tickets available at self-checkouts in over 550 Asda stores nationwide, the company is now in talks with other major supermarkets to do the same.
Continued digital innovation
Camelot’s continued innovation and investment in The National Lottery’s digital channels led to record online sales of £2,457.5 million over the period – an increase of £624.0 million – and saw it exceed the £2 billion sales mark for the first time. As part of this, the company grew mobile sales by £586.0 million to an all-time high of £1,605.5 million, with sales through smartphones and tablets now accounting for around 65% of all digital sales. Camelot’s continuing improvements to The National Lottery’s iPhone and Android mobile apps also drove record sales for this channel, while a brand new look and feel for the National Lottery website and apps at the end of last year has made them more user-friendly, easier to navigate and more engaging.
Improved brand relevance
Camelot continues to make good progress in its goal to better connect The National Lottery’s purpose with play. Working collaboratively with the National Lottery Good Cause Distributors, it was able to very quickly turn around advertising to support The National Lottery Community Fund’s £300 million COVID-19 support package and, more recently, the wider £600 million contribution. The company has also worked closely with the wider National Lottery family to super-charge initiatives that raise awareness of the extraordinary good that The National Lottery does. These included The National Lottery’s 25th birthday campaign – which was a UK-wide celebration of the amazing things that have been made possible thanks to National Lottery players over the past 25 years – and National Lottery Cinema Day and #ThanksToYou, which offered players a free cinema ticket or entry into National Lottery-funded venues.
Railton continued: “Like many businesses, Camelot has seen disruption as a result of the pandemic – particularly in retail. But, thanks to a combination of the foundations we’ve laid over the last three years and some urgent interventions to respond to the current situation, our sales are currently proving resilient. That’s not to say there is no impact, but the business is adapting and continuing to adjust well to the changing situation. We’re also keeping the government and our partners at the National Lottery Distributors up to date on a weekly basis. We remain completely focused on continuing to run The National Lottery as safely and responsibly as we can because we know the importance of the work it does in raising over £30 million every week for Good Causes around the UK – and that has never been more crucial than it is now.
“With Good Causes front of mind, our focus now is to forge ahead in making progress with our plans while maintaining operational resilience and flexibility. This approach will ensure we are ready to respond to a changing environment and that we are doing all we can to look after our players, our retail partners and National Lottery Good Causes. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a huge thanks to everyone involved with The National Lottery for their support over the last few months. To our players, who make a difference every time they buy a ticket. To our retail partners, who have continued to sell National Lottery tickets alongside essential products. To all of our employees, especially those who have continued to work on site to keep business-critical operations going. To the wider National Lottery family, particularly the National Lottery Distributors, who have done a tremendous job at prioritising funding for the people and projects who need it most. And to the government and our regulator, for working with us to keep The National Lottery running and delivering the huge benefits it brings to the nation.
“With the ongoing uncertainty, the year ahead will inevitably be challenging. But I’m very confident that we’re in great shape to meet those challenges – and that we have the strong track record, creativity and determination required to continue generating vital funds for those who need it most in the UK. All of us at Camelot are fully aware of the important role that we play every single day, and I feel immensely privileged to be part of an institution that makes a real difference.”