National Lottery operator doubles Lotto ticket price to increase good cause money

Camelot says it will continue to give 28 per cent to good causes after the changes are brought in

National Lottery
National Lottery

The National Lottery operator Camelot has said it expects the amount of money that it passes on to good causes from lottery ticket sales will increase after it announced it that the price of a ticket for its main game is to double.

From autumn this year, the cost of a Lotto ticket – the main National Lottery game, which has draws every Saturday and Wednesday – will increase from £1 to £2, the operator announced on Wednesday.

A Camelot spokeswoman said the changes were being made to "rejuvenate and re-energise" the Lotto game and increase the amount it contributes to good causes.

Camelot said it expected the Saturday jackpots to increase to an average of £5m, from £4.1m.

"Lotto has been in a state of steady decline at the moment and the overall contribution it makes to good causes is going down," she said. "We want to fix that and deliver significant extra money to good causes."

The changes were based on more than a year’s research with 26,000 players, she said.

Overall lottery sales totalled £6.5bn last year, of which Camelot gives about 28 per cent to good causes. Since its launch in 1994 it has raised £29bn for good causes.

The spokeswoman said it would continue to give 28 per cent to good causes after the changes were brought in, despite an article in the Daily Mirror newspaper saying this share would drop to 27 per cent.

Dominic Mansour, chief executive of the Health Lottery, which gives 20 pence in every pound to good causes, said the move "shows exactly why much more competition is needed to allow other lotteries to thrive in the sector".

He said the price of a Health Lottery ticket would remain at £1.

Camelot estimated it was losing £1m a week in sales to the Health Lottery and launched unsuccessful judicial review proceedings against the Gambling Commission , alleging that it failed to provide adequate oversight of the Health Lottery.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of the research consultancy nfpSynergy, said: "It is interesting that Camelot has spent nine months squealing about the appalling impact of the Health Lottery and then just doubled its ticket price. 

"It is very hard not to believe that doubling the ticket price won’t have quite a major impact on playing and patterns of playing.

"I think people will think it slightly undermines the idea that we have to be really careful with the National Lottery when they make such a major change.

"It is quite a big change for people in difficult times and demonstrates that they must feel confident about the health and robustness of the lottery."

Saxton said the impact on good causes would be monitored very closely.

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: "The lottery is a significant source of funding for charities – in 2010/11, £1.66bn was available for distribution to good causes.

"Charities, like many others, are struggling with increased demand for services, rising costs and an unprecedented fall in income. We will be watching closely to see how this change affects the amount of money going to good causes."

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