UK National Lottery sets new digital sales record in 2018-19

4 June 2019

Camelot UK Lotteries has revealed that the UK’s National Lottery generated a record £1.83bn (€2.06bn/$2.32bn) in digital sales in 2018-19, with overall tickets sales also rising to £7.21bn.

Total ticket sales for the 12-month period from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 represent an increase of £255.1m on the previous year.

Camelot, which operates the UK National Lottery, paid out £4.13bn in winnings to players during the past year and also generated £1.65bn for Good Causes. In total, returns to winners and society climbed £205.0m to £6.76bn in 2018-19.

Camelot put this overall increase in ticket sales primarily down to record digital sales, which improved from £1.65bn last year to £1.83bn. Mobile performed well in particular, with total mobile and tablet sales climbing to an all-time high of £1.02bn, accounting for 55% of all digital sales.  

However, retail remains by far the main source of income for Camelot and the National Lottery. Consumers spent £5.37bn on retail products in 2018-19, up £73.8m on the previous year, with the majority of these sales coming in-store.

Camelot has said it is seeking to build on its retail business by introducing new facilities for players to purchase National Lottery products. Since last summer, Camelot has trialled products in a number of Aldi supermarket stores and has recently made National Lottery games available at self-checkouts in over 550 Asda supermarket sites across the UK.

While sales for draw-based games remained relatively flat across the business, Camelot has said that Thunderball and EuroMillions HotPicks performed well. EuroMillions and Lotto sales were slightly down due to fewer rollover draws of over £100m.

Camelot has said it expects results for draw-based games to improve in 2019-20 with the roll out of its new Set For Life game, which launched on March 15 this year. The game is expected to boost Good Causes by around £100m in the next financial year.

“Sales across most of the business are up – with our ongoing investment and innovation in retail and digital continuing to yield positive results,” Camelot CEO, Nigel Railton, said.

“In particular, we’ve spent much of the last 12 to 18 months getting our draw-based games back in good health – with a more balanced portfolio that now offers something for everyone – and making improvements to our scratchcards and online Instant Win Games in terms of product design, range, merchandising and availability, which has led to record sales of those games.

“Looking forward to next year, it will be very much more of the same – as we look to build on the steady progress that we’ve made across all areas of our business.”

Although Railton said economic uncertainty and increasing competition from the gaming and wider lotteries sectors will continue to impact the National Lottery, he is confident players will remain loyal to the brand.

“I’m delighted that the foundations we’ve put in place and the initiatives we’ve already implemented are paying off,” he said. “And with the innovative plans we have lined up, I’m confident that the National Lottery will continue to make a huge difference to the lives of people and communities throughout the UK.”

Since launching in 1994, the National Lottery has paid out over £71bn in prizes, creating more than 5,350 millionaires in the process, and also delivered more than £40bn to Good Causes.

GB Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur hailed the National Lottery's "incredible achievement" in raising the sum.

“Ensuring that returns to good causes are maximised is a priority for us as regulator," McArthur said. "This will remain a priority as we look to the future and at how technology and innovation can ensure that the success of the National Lottery continues in the years ahead.”