National Lottery funding falls despite ‘excess’ Camelot profits


Lottery operator Camelot has enjoyed a massive increase in its profits – while the amount of money donated to good causes had fallen dramatically.

And it’s partly because of an unpopular decision to increase the number of balls in Lotto draws, an inquiry has found.

The number of balls rose from 49 to 59 in 2015. And this means the chance of winning the jackpot has fallen.

An inquiry by MPs, including Birmingham MP Shabana Mahmood (Lab Ladywood), said: “The longer term result has been falling sales, and a corresponding decline in returns to good causes.”

The findings were published by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which held an inquiry into the future of the national lottery.

The lottery has raised over £37 billion for good causes since it was launched in 1994. But after rising for several years, income for good causes fell by 15% in 2016–17 and ticket sales fell by 9%.

MPs found that gamblers are increasingly turning to instant-win games such as scratchcards, but the cards provide less money for good causes than traditional lottery tickets.

Lottery tickets provide 30p for good causes for every £1 spent, but scratch-cards only provide an average of 10p for every £1.

It’s meant that Camelot’s profits are 122% higher than in 2009-10.

MPs said: “The Gambling Commission acknowledges that it is not comfortable with Camelot’s profit growth in recent years compared to the returns to good causes.

“Camelot is a monopoly supplier and it not clear whether the rate of return it receives is fair and comparable to companies in other regulated sectors.”

MPs said changes to lottery draws had failed to increase ticket sales.