Camelot names Railton as permanent CEO, reveals H1 results

21 November 2017

UK National Lottery operator Camelot has appointed Nigel Railton as permanent chief executive in the UK and announced financial results for the first half.

Railton, who will now serve as chief executive of Camelot UK Lotteries, has been heading up a company-wide strategic review that launched in June following a drop in ticket sales during the 2016-17 financial year.

Ticket sales for the year amounted to £6.92bn (€7.81bn/$9.16bn), 8.8% down on the previous year, and Camelot has today (Tuesday) reported further losses for the first half of the current financial year.

During the first six months of 2017-18, National Lottery ticket sales came in at £3.28bn, which is 3.2% lower than in the corresponding period last year, but in line with expectations.

Camelot awarded £1.86bn in prize money to players during the period, with the National Lottery now having handed out £65bn in total prize money since launch, and created more than 4,750 millionaires across its range of games.

Speaking about his new role and the results, Railton acknowledges that there is a “challenge” ahead for Camelot, adding that it will “take some time” to turn things around.

“It’s a privilege to have been given the opportunity to run Camelot’s UK business; as operator of The National Lottery, we’re a company like no other – a commercial organisation that raises billions of pounds for the public good,” Railton said.

“Coming off the back of last year’s disappointing sales performance – and in the face of the very real threat posed by intensifying competition from the wider gambling sector, which benefits from significant taxation advantages, and continuing doubts over the economy – I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead of us; it is going to take some time to turn things around.

“However, given the areas for improvement that we’ve identified during the strategic review, Camelot’s impressive track record of success over the long term and the first-class team that I’ll be working with, I firmly believe that we have an excellent platform to get The National Lottery back where it should be next year – in growth, creating more winners than ever before, and delivering even more money for the millions of people and thousands of communities for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial.

“Everyone at Camelot is fully committed to ensuring that this success story continues, so I’m really encouraged that we’re now seeing early signs of improvement as a result of what we’re doing – and that gives us a great springboard to return to growth next year.”

With this in mind, Camelot has set out four key principles to help the National Lottery return to growth: improve its range of games; invest to enhance its retail offering; upgrade its digital capabilities; and reinvigorate the National Lottery brand.

Camelot will introduce a Tuesday ‘Thunderball’ draw in the New Year as well as launch ‘EuroMillions HotPicks’, a variation on its ‘Lotto HotPicks’ game, modify its range of in-store and online instant win games and add a new 'income for life' lottery prize where players can win £10,000 a month for life.

The plans also include making National Lottery games available at self-checkout facilities in retail stores across the UK, as well as doubling the size of its sales force and investing £20m in retail initiatives to boost levels of engagement.

Meanwhile, Camelot will introduce enhanced functionality on its various digital platforms to make playing National Lottery games online as easy as possible, as well as upgrade its official mobile application and CRM.

In addition, Camelot plans to place greater marketing emphasis on promoting a more unified and overarching National Lottery parent brand and work with the National Lottery Distribution Bodies to deliver a single ‘One National Lottery’ brand.

Related article: Camelot to review UK National Lottery strategy