Camelot attributes Tokyo Games for ‘highest-ever’ first-half lottery sales

Camelot has revealed that its H1 National Lottery ticket sales for the 2021/22 financial year were its ‘highest-ever’, attributing its success to the brand’s connection to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Publishing an update this morning, the National Lottery operator announced ticket sales of £3,961.4 million for the first six months of the year – covering 1 April to 25 September 2021 – a 2.7% increase on the previous year of £107.3 million. These sales were driven mainly by a ‘strong draw-based games performance’, with its Lotto product now in its third year of growth whilst its retail operations also experienced a ‘steady’ recovery. 

Furthermore, Camelot detailed that £2,274.5 million was awarded to players in prize money, an increase of £30.6 million, with 95% of all sales revenue returned to ‘winners and society’, as 1% of sales was retained as profit and 4% was spent on operating costs.

In addition, the group recorded a 6.5% increase in money generated for Good Causes from ticket sales, offsetting a 59.1 year-on-year decrease in unclaimed prizes contributions, the proceeds of which are handed over to Good Causes.

In total, £884.5 million was generated for charitable contributions during the first six months of the financial year, a 2.4% increase on the 2019/20 figure of £864.7 million, with total returns to Good Causes since the lottery’s foundation in 1994 now standing at £45 billion.

Camelot Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, said: “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.”

Additionally, the operator – which is one of the key participants in the fourth UK National Lottery licence contest, competing against Sisal, Sazka Group and Northern & Shell Group – highlighted  its ‘largest-ever brand campaign’ for the Tokyo Olympics.

This campaign saw Camelot issue reminders to players that every time a National Lottery ticket is purchased money is directed to Team GB Olympic athletes, whilst the firm also organised two National Lottery Homecoming events at Wembley Arena – broadcast on BBC One and Channel 4 – to “make the connection between ‘play and purpose’”.

Further lauding the company’s Tokyo 2020 campaigning, Camelot outlined that the campaign had strengthened its brand positivity, building on its National Lottery Community Fund COVID-19 funding commitments made during the first UK national lockdown.

Camelot CEO, Nigel Railton, remarked: “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.”

A unit breakdown of National Lottery sales saw Camelot’s retail division experience a major recovery from the COVID-19 pandmeic, with total in store sales increasing by  £2,337.5 million (4.5%) to £102.7 million. This translated to around £3,000 per store in retailer commission, which rose by £6.5 million to £133 million, a growth rate of 6.5%.

 

In comparison, digital sales grew by just 0.2%, significantly less than the 39.1% uptake recorded in 2020, with online sales reaching £1,623.9 million. Mobile sales increased slightly more, however, by 21.3 million (1.8%) to an all-time high of £1,150 million, with 795,000 new online registrations also recorded.

 

Lastly, Scratchcard and Instant Win Game sales grew by 1.6% to £1,733.3 million during the first half of the financial year to £28.6 million, whilst the aforementioned retail recovery saw the former rise by 6.7% year on year, although the latter fell by 8.8% and scratchcard sales remained lower than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Railton continued.

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.”

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