The total for the period from 1 April to 24 September was 2.6% ahead of the first half of last year and also the first time that sales surpassed the £4.00bn mark in the National Lottery’s 28-year history.
Draw-based games remained the most popular among consumers, generating £2.40bn in sales in H1, up 7.5% year-on-year. Camelot noted a particularly strong performance by EuroMillions, helped by larger jackpot draws, including a £184.0m draw in May.
Lotto also performed well despite fewer sales-driving “Must Be Won” draws over the period, though scratchcard and online instant win games sales were 3.7% lower year-on-year at £1.67bn, mainly due to reduced sales of in-store scratchcards as a result of lower footfall and less frequent shopping trips.
Looking more closely at digital performance, overall online sales were 13.0% up to £1.84bn in the first half, a record total for the National Lottery.
Mobile sales jumped 19.0% year-on-year to £1.37bn, which Camelot said reflected a wider and “ever-increasing” shift to mobile shopping. The operator also said it was able to sign up 1.1 million new online players during the half, increasing its total digital customer base to 10.7 million.
In terms of retail, total sales were down 4.7% to £2.23bn due to ongoing difficult conditions in the physical retail market. This was attributed to a drop in footfall in some sectors and a preference for infrequent, bigger shops to seek better value deals over more frequent, smaller shopping trips.
Despite this, Camelot said retail remains the largest National Lottery sales channel with more than 44,500 retail partners across its sales network.
It was also noted that the amount distributed to “Good Causes” during the first half reached £956.5m, the highest ever total for the opening six months of a financial year. This figure was 8.1% higher than last year and meant the total generated for Good Causes since the National Lottery launched in 1994 now exceeds £47.0bn.
In addition, Camelot said the National Lottery awarded £2.30bn in prize money to players in the half and created 169 new millionaires, including the UK’s three biggest-ever winners, all of whom won on EuroMillions: £195.0m, £184.0m and £171.0m.
“I am delighted that these record results show that the National Lottery is returning more to Good Causes than ever before,” Camelot chairman Sir Hugh Robertson said. “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.”
News of the record sales comes after it was announced this week that Allwyn Entertainment reached an agreement to acquire Camelot UK Lotteries, ahead of it replacing the business as operator of the National Lottery.
Under the agreement, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan board (OTTP), the current owner of Camelot UK, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Allwyn.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but an earlier report from Sky News, when the talks were confirmed last month, suggested the acquisition could be worth as much as £100.0m.
Subject to regulatory approvals, including final clearance from the Great Britain Gambling Commission, the acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2023.
Allwyn is due to assume control of the UK National Lottery in February 2024, with the third licence expiring on 31 January of that year. Allwyn was formally awarded the fourth UK National Lottery licence in September, ending Camelot’s 28-year tenure as operator.