Camelot claims Lotto lift-off

But overall sales look static

NATIONAL Lottery sales grew 6.9% last year, to reach an all-time high of £6,977.9m according to operator Camelot. Independent stores account for 83% of all lottery sales and last year saw the company added a further 8,000 stores to its UK network, bringing the total up to 36,700.

NATIONAL Lottery organiser Camelot says the increase in prize values and ticket prices on its Lotto product has revitalised the game.

But some retailers aren’t so sure and overall sales figures for all games don’t appear to be considerably higher than those achieved in the weeks before the Lotto price jump.
In its published performance figures for the UK National Lottery for October the firm said total revenue from all games for the four-week period ending 26 October 2013 was £515.4m.
“This reflects the success of the launch of new Lotto on 5th October, which has reinvigorated players’ interest in the game and delivered a significant and immediate increase in sales,” the company claimed.
Total sales for all games in the first week of the four-week period, which included the first of two launch-phase £10m jackpots on the new £2 Lotto game, reached £135.2m.
But in the fourth week of October, when Lotto didn’t have a promotional jackpot, total sales came in at £123m.
However, in the 13-week period to 26 September – the final period of the old £1-a-ticket Lotto draw – total sales across all games had averaged £123.3m.
Figures for the October-December period, which will show the performance of individual games, will be issued next month.
Camelot says previously reported long-term decline in Lotto sales “underlined the rationale” of re-launching the game.
But the transition hasn’t necessarily been a smooth one for convenience retailers.
For Bernie Innes, owner of What Everyone Wants in Hamilton, numbers of Lotto tickets dropped considerably after the change to a £2 ticket, even though turnover had gone up thanks to the higher price.
“The reason we took Lotto on was because of the volume of customers who wanted to play,” he said.
“If the increase in the lottery sales is at the detriment of the volume of customers, that’s not what I’m looking for as a retailer.”
Desmond Barr, of Sinclair Barr Newsagents in Paisley said: “Customers have either stopped playing on a particular night or aren’t playing as many lines, which is quietly concerning.”
Maxine Akhtar, who runs a convenience store in Stoneyburn, West Lothian said: “Some are complaining and saying they’re not putting it on, but others are quite happy because there are more prizes.
“Now that five Lottos cost a tenner, a few have cut their lines back or are playing once a week.”
For other retailers, little has altered. “I haven’t seen any significant changes,” said Robert Hood, owner of Hood News in Inverness. “There have been a couple who have gone onto Thunderballs only, but in general I don’t think we’re losing out anywhere.”
A spokesperson for Camelot said: “We’ve said all along that a relatively small number of players may decide to stop playing Lotto, change the number of lines they play or switch to other National Lottery games, of which there are several priced at £1.
“However, most players have welcomed the changes.”