National Lottery reaches record £6.5bn sales

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Hopeful Britons who dream of escaping austerity woes have been turning to the National Lottery in droves, according to operator Camelot (OTC BB: CAML.OB - news) , which has posted record sales of £6.5bn.

The company turned a record 288 Britons into millionaires last year the equivalent of one person every 30 hours.

Andy Duncan, the former Channel 4 boss who took the helm at Camelot UK in October, said more than 70pc of the country’s adult population now plays the lottery in some form, whether through the traditional twice weekly draw, EuroMillions or scratch cards.

As a result of last year’s record sales, which were up 12.1pc on the previous 12 months, Camelot handed over £1.8bn to good causes, Mr Duncan said.

This included raising £750m towards the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Although there is no direct evidence that the double-dip recession has aided sales, the UK lottery bucked a wider global trend of declining lottery sales growth.

However, Camelot believes £1m of sales a week are being cannibalised by media tycoon Richard Desmond’s rival Health Lottery.

Camelot has pushed for a judicial review of the Gambling Commission’s decision to grant a licence to the Health Lottery, which was launched by the owner of the Daily Express last year.