National Lottery online ticket sales reach record levels in 2018/19

The UK national lottery operator Camelot has seen a record surge of online ticket sales. Financial figures released by the group show a £181.3m increase with combined digital sales amounting to £1.83bn.

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Lottery has seen a surge of online ticket sales © Pixabay.

The firm say ticket sales through mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets also saw a mid-30% boost with an increase of £318.19m, taking sales through the £1bn mark for the first time. It is, however, away from the national lottery that the most significant figures are involved. Sales of scratchcards and online ‘instant win’ games generated a huge £3.1bn during the reporting period of twelve months to March 2019. This is £290m more than the same reporting period a year earlier.

Upon releasing the latest set of figures, Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said the company was making “good progress” after implementing its 2017 strategic review. At that time, sales were falling by 8.8%. With the contribution to good causes also falling, many believed it was the beginning of the end for the National Lottery. The company promised to re-engage customers and address public concerns over the performance of their draw-based games. Judging on the financials alone, it looks like a job done well.

News of the record sales is unlikely to please everyone. Opponents of Camelot have often accused the company of profiteering off the UK public and using the profits to fund Camelot’s parent company, Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. It has always been a source of suspicion that the Government allowed a profit model, rather than one of the many not-for-profit propositions that were proposed when the lottery was announced and later renewed.

We will create a National Lottery that is fit for the futureUKGC

Lottery of the future

The UK Gambling Commission has pledged to “create a National Lottery that is fit for the future” when a winner from the tender process is decided. The license to run the 6th largest lottery in the world runs with current operators Camelot until 2023. The Commission announced the intention to invite tenders in November last year, the process is expected to take place and be completed by the end of 2020.

Lottoland, who offer betting on over 30 different lottery draws, have already declared an interest in forming a consortium to run a new lottery. CEO Nigel Birrell had previously lauded his company’s expertise in “online, digital, mobile, lotto and gaming that would bring significant value” to any alliance. If Lottoland can replicate their early success which saw them founded in 2013 with seven employees to over 350 employees and a € 300 million turnover in six years, they could prove useful allies.

Interestingly, current operators Camelot have refused to be drawn into conversations whether they would be one of those tendering a bid. When pressed a spokesperson would only state that the companies immediate focus was to continue to grow ticket sales. The firm again pointed to the amount raised for good causes as to why the National Lottery is so crucial for the next five years until the licensing ends. There are likely to be a few nervous teachers in Ontario, Canada until Camelot make their intentions known however!

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