Camelot Announces Highest-Ever First-Half National Lottery Sales, Fuelled By Lotto And Tokyo 2020

November 28, 2021 | Lottery News

UK (November 23, 2021) — Camelot UK Lotteries Limited (‘Camelot’) today announced its highest-ever first-half National Lottery ticket sales of £3,961.4 million for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year (1 April to 25 September 2021) – an increase of £107.3 million (+2.7%) on last year. This growth was driven by a strong draw-based games performance – particularly on Lotto, which is now in its third successive year of growth – as well as a steady retail recovery. This performance was further boosted by the unmissable National Lottery brand connection to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The amount generated for Good Causes from ticket sales grew by +6.5% driven by strong draw games growth, while unclaimed prizes – which are handed over to Good Causes – were down -59.1% year-on-year. As a result, a total of £884.5 million was generated for Good Causes during the first half – up from £863.7 million last year (+2.4%). Returns to Good Causes since The National Lottery’s launch in 1994 have now exceeded £45 billion.

Welcoming the record first half, Camelot Chairman, Sir Hugh Robertson, commented: “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.”

A key strand of activity over the half year was The National Lottery’s largest-ever brand campaign for Tokyo 2020 – a summer-long programme that reminded players that, every time they play a National Lottery game, they directly support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes. Camelot then went further to make the connection between ‘play and purpose’ by devising and staging two National Lottery Homecoming events at Wembley Arena. These were broadcast at primetime on BBC One and Channel 4, and gave thousands of National Lottery players a chance to welcome home their Olympic and Paralympic heroes with a stellar line-up of live entertainment. As a result, National Lottery brand positivity once again rose to the high levels seen during the initial National Lottery Community Fund Covid-19 funding commitment made in the first lockdown.

Announcing the results, Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said: “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.”

Over the first six months of the year, The National Lottery awarded £2,274.5 million in prize money to players – up £30.6 million – and created 184 new millionaires. With approximately 1% of sales retained as profit by Camelot under the terms of its licence, and 4% spent on operating costs during the period, The National Lottery continued to return around 95% of all sales revenue to winners and society.


The majority of the first-half National Lottery sales increase was driven by Camelot growing sales of draw-based games to £2,228.1 million – up £78.7 million (+3.6%). This saw year-on-year growth across all draw games as a result of its balanced portfolio – which offers prices and prizes to suit different tastes, and special event draws and game features that drive player engagement and excitement.

This diverse offering meant that, even though EuroMillions saw far fewer rollovers than normal – causing a drag on growth in the first half – Lotto was able to drive participation with a steady drumbeat of ‘Must Be Won’ draws. These continue to grow in popularity, particularly as players experience the ‘Rolldown’ feature – Camelot’s unique game innovation which means that, if the jackpot is not won outright, it is shared out among all prize winners, resulting in boosted prize amounts for everyone. This feature typically sees over a million boosted cash prizes in a ‘Rolldown’ draw, and more than 20 million tickets have won £5 for matching just two main numbers since Camelot introduced this new prize amount just over a year ago – fostering player positivity and engagement.

And, with its top prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years, Set For Life continues to exceed sales expectations and bring in new players who are motivated by a monthly cash injection to fulfil their hobbies and passions.

Elsewhere, sales of National Lottery Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games grew over the period by £28.6 million (+1.6%) to £1,733.3 million. With these sales being largely incremental to draw-based games, a strong retail recovery as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted meant that in-store Scratchcard sales were up +6.7% year-on-year while sales of online Instant Win Games were down -8.8% – although Scratchcard sales still remain down on pre-pandemic levels as shopping habits continue to evolve.


This same recovery saw Camelot grow total in-store sales to £2,337.5 million – up £102.7m (+4.5%). As a result, first-half retailer commission increased to £133.0 million – up £6.5 million (+5.1%) and the equivalent of around £3,000 per store. Retail remains the largest National Lottery sales channel and Camelot works closely with around 44,000 retailers across the UK, with independent outlets making up the majority. Its in-store National Lottery standards programme for independent retailers has continued to prove enormously successful, with £288,000 in cash rewards – over and above their retail commission – awarded to independent shopkeepers in the first half of the year. Additionally, retailer satisfaction scores continue to track at their highest-ever level.

Camelot has also continued to forge new retail partnerships to reflect changes in the way people shop, which saw it complete rollouts with Aldi and Iceland in the first six months of 2021/22. These two partnerships see National Lottery draw-based games available ‘in lane’ in around 1,900 stores, driving convenience purchases at checkout tills. Camelot also successfully completed the implementation of the change to the age to play The National Lottery from 16 to 18 in April – well in advance of the change in legislation which came into force in October and in close co-operation with its retail partners, who have been doing a vital job of highlighting the age change to their customers.


Camelot’s continued digital innovation once again led to record online sales of £1,623.9 million in the first half – an increase of £4.6 million (+0.2%) compared to last year’s half-year uplift of +39.1% resulting from significant Covid-19 lockdown impact. As part of this, mobile sales grew by £21.3 million (+1.8%) to an all-time high of £1,150.0 million – reflecting the wider, ever-increasing shift to mobile shopping. This growth was also accompanied by over 795,000 new online registrations – backing up the wider trend that, as the UK comes through the pandemic and shopping habits adapt, people are continuing to shop interchangeably between online and in retail depending on day-to-day convenience, meaning that online National Lottery sales are complementary to in-store sales.

In line with its longstanding commitment to player protection – which encourages lots of people to play but to individually only spend relatively small amounts – Camelot continued to invest in and promote its ‘Dream Big, Play Small’ portal. Over the six months, it had personalised interactions with the very small proportion of players who showed signs of potentially unhealthy play, as well as delivered a programme of reducing play and wallet limits for the most at-risk players. As a result of this ongoing work, average digital weekly spend has reduced year on year – with fewer than two online Instant Win Games played per person per week on average.

CEO Nigel Railton continued: “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. 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.

“This record first half shows that The National Lottery continues to be in its best-ever shape as it delivers for Good Causes, players, retailers and Treasury. Following four years of sales growth, including record results last year, I am extremely grateful to my colleagues and the wider National Lottery family of Good Causes distributors and retailers for their role in this ongoing success story.”

SOURCE: Camelot Press Office.