The amount of money going to good causes from the National Lottery fell by more than £120m in the first half of 2016/17 compared with the same period last year, figures from the Gambling Commission show.
Data on the amount of money passed to the National Lottery Distribution Fund, which gives good-cause money raised by the lottery to other distributors, including the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, show that £773.2m was raised between April and the end of September this year, compared with £896.5m over the same period in the previous year.
Figures covering the same period published earlier this month by Camelot, the National Lottery operator, showed the amount raised for good causes was £783m, down from £875m in the corresponding period last year.
A Gambling Commission spokeswoman said the figures were different from those released by Camelot earlier this month because Camelot reported its accounts based on gross figures from total lottery sales, whereas the NLDF figure was the actual amount going to good causes minus adjustments such as costs for the National Lottery Promotions Unit.
Despite the reduction, Camelot’s statement said that longer-term trends remained "very healthy", with a growth in sales of almost 50 per cent since 2009.
Andy Duncan, chief executive of Camelot, said: "Despite the challenges we’ve faced over the past six months, our performance over the half year still represents one of our best since the National Lottery’s launch in 1994. And returning more than £2.7bn to good causes and players in just six months is no small achievement."
But he warned that recent economic trends and increased competition meant the lottery was likely to experience another "challenging" six months.
"With the current climate of economic uncertainty and signs that consumers are being more cautious with their spending, we expect the next six months to be similarly challenging," he said.