Camelot UK Lotteries, the licensed operator of The National Lottery, recovered its ticket sales for the first six months of the 2020/21 financial year ended on 26 September 2020 following the slump in the beginning of the global health crisis. Camelot reported £3.89 billion in sales, which represents only 1.7% decrease compared to the same period of 2019/20 financial year.
Digital Channel On the Rise
The operator successfully mitigated the impact of Covid-19 on its operations and balance sheet by implementing a series of measures, such as cancelling a number of special jackpot draws and launching an advertising campaign to promote its digital playing channels. Customers were urged to buy tickets at retail shops only when doing essential shopping. During the six month period, there were more than 1.3 million new online registrations, which boosted digital sales and caused Camelot to pour funds into the enhancement of its technical support. Moreover, the lottery operator divided its one-time quarterly prize of £10,000 into 10 prizes of £1,000. The growth of digital sales was already happening during the last fiscal year.
Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said the business faced unprecedented challenges in the beginning of the pandemic, such as plunge in sales and retail sector uncertainty, but quickly got back on track and took decisive steps to continue operating effectively. The company’s efforts altogether led to an increase of £455.2 million in online sales to £1.6 billion.
Camelot has been the operator of The National Lottery since 1994 and now its contract due to finish in 2023 has been extended by six months following the announcement by The Gambling Commission for a three-month delay in the beginning of the tender process aimed to select a new licensee.
Retail Sales Decline, But Still Outweigh Digital Segment
Although retail sales decreased by 30.5% to £2.23bn, they still were almost half above the amount generated by digital sales during the six months period, while July-September was a period of increase and sales were up 15.2% in quarterly terms due to the ease of restrictions. As a result, National Lottery retailers gained an average of around £2,800 per store in commissions or £126.5 million in total for the half year.
Part of its strategy to boost retail sales include testing the sale of National Lottery tickets in Aldi and Iceland and negotiations with other major supermarkets about offering tickets in self-checkouts, following the launch of this option in Asda.
Over the first half of the fiscal year, Camelot gave away £2.24 billion in prizes to players or £5.5 million more than the same period last year. Camelot continues to be one of the top operators in terms of giving away prizes and returning profit to the society with giving back 95% of its revenue.