Funds raised for good causes through the National Lottery dropped slightly in the first half of its financial year as the coronavirus pandemic hit sales before recovering.
The National Lottery operator, Camelot, said today that £863.7m excluding investment returns had been raised for good causes between 1 April and 26 September, a fall of £13.1m compared with the same period last year.
It said that despite an 18 per cent hit to lottery sales at the start of the pandemic, the company had recorded sales of £3.85bn over the six-month period. This was down £67.2m on the same period last year but is still its second-best sales figure.
Camelot said the latest batch of good cause money took the total raised to more than £42bn since the National Lottery was launched in 1994.
It said it took action when the pandemic hit to encourage people to play online or on their mobile device, resulting in more than 1.3 million new online registrations.
It said it gave out £2.2bn in prizes over the six months to the end of September, creating 203 new millionaires.
The company said that including the duty that goes to the government, about 95 per cent of all of its revenue is returned to winners or society.
Nigel Railton, chief executive of Camelot, said: “Like most other businesses, we’ve faced a lot of upheaval and challenges this year. At the start of April, we found ourselves in an unprecedented situation – with a sharp decline in sales, retail uncertainty and our EuroMillions game in jeopardy, as some of our partner countries were under strict lockdowns.
“To add to this, we had to move overnight to the vast majority of our employees working from home – so we’re enormously proud of this set of results.
“Thanks to the strong foundations we established following our strategic review – combined with our years of experience and some innovative thinking – we’ve moved quickly and decisively, and adapted to the ever-changing situation.”