UK National Lottery operator Camelot has revealed business boomed in the past six months although sales of tickets and scratchcards in shops remain below pre-pandemic levels.
Sales hit £4 billion in the six months to September 25, up 2.7% on the same period a year ago, with strong sales particularly of tickets for the group’s main Lotto draw.
Chief executive Nigel Railton told the PA news agency: “We have seen retail start to recover albeit it’s still well below pre-pandemic levels.
“We’re trading at about 90% pre-pandemic levels. We did have new digital players come in but the trading conditions are very difficult and consumer confidence is difficult at the moment.”
He added: “But despite that, you know we have got ourselves into a position where we record first half performance.”
— The National Lottery (@TNLUK) November 22, 2021
And while the Lotto draw grew strongly, sales of EuroMillions tickets were slower to grow due to fewer rollovers during the period.
The sales were also attributed to a strong performance for its Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, which funded British athletes who competed.
Mr Railton was cautious on next steps for Camelot, as the company awaits a decision from regulators over whether it will continue to use the company to run the lottery at a review due early next year.
But he said Camelot would continue to focus on ensuring tickets could be bought in more retailers, to increase on the 4.5% increase in sales in the last six months.
The company recently launched ticket sales at checkouts in Iceland and Aldi and Mr Railton said he was targeting other stores.
He explained: “We’re rolling out through very difficult circumstance so operationally, it’s a challenge for those organisations. But they’re pleased and we’re pleased.
“I just wish Lidl would come and talk to us but the moment they aren’t. That would be next door to knock on.”
The boss added that the amount generated for good causes from ticket sales grew by 6.5% – although customers were quicker to check their tickets for potential wins, with the amount of unclaimed prizes 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.