Many online bingo players also play the National Lottery. In fact, millions of people play the National Lottery each week, and recently Camelot UK Lotteries, which runs the UK’s National Lottery, announced that sales reached a new high of £4.06 billion during the first half of the 2022-23 financial year.
Total sales for the period from 1 April to 24 September were 2.6% higher than the first half of last year. It was also the first time that ticket sales passed the £4 billion market since the National Lottery was established 28 years ago.
Bingo players won’t be surprised to learn that it is the draw-based games that remain the most popular with customers. They produced £2.4 billion in sales in the first half of the year, up 7.5% when compared to the same period last year. Camelot said that the EuroMillions lottery performed particularly well, with ticket sales spurred on by large jackpots, such as the £184 million prize awarded in May.
The Lotto game also performed well even though Camelot ran fewer “Must Be Won” draws. However, sales of scratch cards and online instant win games dropped 3.7% to £1.67 billion. This was mainly down to fewer sales of scratch cards in retail stores as shopper numbers were generally lower during the period.
Digital performance was particularly impressive, with online sales up 13% to £1.84 billion in the first half of the year, which was a new record for the National Lottery. There was also a huge increase in mobile sales of 19% to £1.37 billion, which Camelot said is a sign of the gradual shift towards mobile shopping visible in all industries. According to Camelot, 1.1 million new players signed up online in the first half of the year, taking its total number of digital customers to 10.7 million.
There was a drop of 4.7% to £2.33 billion in retail sales. This reflects the wider difficulties currently being experienced by the physical retail market. Many sectors have seen a drop in football, with people preferring to make fewer shopping trips in order to save money. However, retail still remains the biggest sales channel for the National Lottery, with more than 44,500 retail partners.
Camelot raised an impressive £956.5 million in the first half of the year that was distributed to its “Good Causes”. It is the highest-ever total for an H1, and it was 8.1% higher than the same period last year. It means that the National Lottery has now raised more than £47 billion for Good Causes since 1994.
Furthermore, over the first half of the year, the National Lottery awarded £2.3 billion in prize money. This created 169 new millionaires, including the UK’s three biggest-ever winners. The three prizes all came from EuroMillions and were worth £195 million, £184 million, and £171 million.
Speaking about the results, Camelot chairman Sir Hugh Robertson said,
“I am delighted that these record results show that the National Lottery is returning more to Good Causes than ever before. In this hugely testing economic period, I am proud that my team’s remarkable performance builds on previous years of record ticket sales and returns to Good Causes – and extends our track record of delivering for people across the UK. With just over a year to run until the start of the next licence period, I am confident that The National Lottery has never been in better shape.”
The record results were revealed in the same week as it was announced that Allwyn Entertainment had reached a deal to purchase Camelot UK Lotteries ahead of it, replacing Camelot as the operator of the National Lottery.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan board (OTTP) currently owns Camelot, and it is to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Allwyn. While financial terms of the deal have not been announced, there have been reports in the press that suggests the acquisition cost as much as £100 million.
Assuming that the deal receives regulatory approval, including from the UK Gambling Commission, the acquisition should be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
Allwyn is due to start operating the National Lottery in February 2024, with Camelot’s current license expiring on 31 January. The change will bring to an end Camelot’s 28-year run as the lottery’s operator.