The National Lottery raised more than £90m less for good causes in the first six months of 2016/17 compared with the same period last year, figures released today show.
According to an announcement by the lottery operator Camelot, ticket sales between 1 April and 24 September were almost £3.4bn, which meant that the lottery raised £783m for good causes.
In comparison, the lottery raised £875m for the corresponding six months last year, from sales of more than £3.6bn.
Despite the reduction, Camelot’s statement said that longer-term trends remained "very healthy" with a sales growth of almost 50 per cent since 2009.
The statement also said sales across the lottery’s digital channels were strong, reaching £726m and with a 13.5 per cent increase in sales through mobile phones.
Andy Duncan, chief executive of Camelot, said: "Despite the challenges we’ve faced over the last 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.
"We’re also seeing no let-up in the direct, often aggressive, competition we’re facing from the wider gambling sector – especially from bet-on-lottery firms purporting to offer the same products as The National Lottery – and from large ‘umbrella-style’ society lotteries.
"But, with some great plans lined up, there’s still all to play for in the second half of the year – and we’ll be doing everything we can to deliver even more for our players and for the millions of people for whom National Lottery funding is so vital."