Outgoing National Lottery operator Camelot posted its highest half-year sales this morning as soaring online sales continue to save the day.
The company said that the rising number of online players offset the dwindling in-store ticket and scratchcard demand, with sales topping £4bn for the first time in its history.
Despite the “difficult” retail landscape and cost of living woes, the gambling giant said draw-based games, such as EuroMillions, had performed particularly well during the period, up 7.5 per cent to £2.4bn for the half year. It said it now has around 10.7m digital players.
Camelot chief executive Neil Railton said the National Lottery had enjoyed a “record half-year” when it came to good causes, with returns of almost £1bn.
The news notably comes days after Camelot was sold to its National Lottery licence successor Allwyn, which was awarded the lucrative government contract back in March by the Gambling Commission. A 10-year licence is projected to generate up to £100bn in sales for Allwyn.
Camelot, which was owned by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, initially challenged this decision, arguing that the gambling watchdog did not properly evaluate the risk of its rival’s proposals, and questioned the processes behind the competition. This delayed the beginnings of the licence handover.
Although legal action was eventually dropped in September, with the pair working together on the change, a cross-party group of MPs said this week that the process was “poorly managed”.
The House of Commons digital, culture, media and sports committee has called on the Gambling Commission to “review its licence competition design process,” with a focus on protecting good causes.
Nevertheless, both Allwyn and Camelot have said the former’s ownership will help facilitate “a smooth transition,” with Camelot continuing to operate separately and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.
The Czech-based conglomerate is due to operate the National Lottery from 1 February 2024. It is understood that Allwyn, which is headed by chief Robert Chvatal, has plans to slash ticket prices from £2 to £1 and promised to hike the amount of money put to good causes.