UK Lottery Cashes in for £7.6 Billion

UK lottery sales reach record levels.

UK lottery sales peak in 2015 thanks to more players purchasing their tickets online. (Image: www.nfrnonline.com)

UK lottery owner Camelot hit the jackpot in 2015 after ticket sales across its range of products reached new heights.

Despite certain lottery products seeing a drop in sales, Camelot revealed that overall betting activity increased by 4% (or £317 million) to the year ending March 2016, an increase which resulted in total sales worth £7.6 billion.

From that figure, a total of £1.9 billion was handed out to good causes, including various art projects and athletes preparing to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

However, it’s also players that have benefited from the recent boom in lottery sales according to Camelot. As well as weekly guarantees worth £1 million, the operator’s main Lotto game paid out a £35.1 million jackpot to a single player in April.

Online Sales Help Drive Upswing

Breaking down the numbers, it seems that the ability to purchase lottery tickets online has helped reinvigorate a betting sector that was previously on a downswing.

Although newsagents and official retailers still brought in £6.01 billion in sales (80% of Camelot’s total revenue), digital sales increased by 53% to £596 million in the last year.

Although Camelot is by far the largest lottery provider in the UK with soaring profits, its chief executive Andy Duncan also spoke out about the UK’s other operators; specifically The Health Lottery and the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Although each operator donates a portion of ticket sale revenue to good causes, Duncan believes that a single “national” lottery is better for the country as it is the best way to maximise returns to society.

“It is being looked at by the department for culture, media and sport and the Gambling Commission,” said Duncan.

UK Gambling Laws Under Fire

While UK lottery bosses have been popping bottles of champagne in recent days, casino operators across the country have been swallowing something a little less sweet.

Following the Future of Casinos conference in London, casino bosses have been critical of the UK’s gambling machine laws.

The third in a series of discussions between casino operators and the Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group saw the former question the three-tiered structure governing gambling machines.

Under the current system, casinos licensed under the 1968 Gambling Act are restricted to 20 onsite gaming machines. Additionally, venues classed as “small casinos” are allowed up to 80 machines, while “large” casinos can have as many as 150 terminals.

According to Grosvenor Casinos’ managing director Mark Jones, this set-up is confusing for overseas customers who don’t know what to expect when they enter a British casino.

Hippodrome Casino CEO Simon Thomas added to this dissatisfaction by suggesting the current dynamics are out of line with other European countries.

“Casinos in all major European countries earn significantly more from slot machines than casinos in the UK,” Thomas stated during the meeting.

Whether or not the current situation will evolve anytime soon is unclear, but with operators seemingly unhappy and prepared to voice their concerns, it could only be a matter of time before things change.

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