The National Lottery generated £793.2m for good causes in the first half of 2018/19, £46.5m more than in the first half of the 2017/18 financial year, according to figures released today.
The lottery organiser Camelot said that ticket sales had amounted to £3,456.3m in the six months between 1 April, the start of Camelot’s financial year, and 29 September – an increase of £175.9m on the same period last year.
The increased ticket sales meant that about £30m a week was raised for good causes. This brought the total the lottery had raised since its launch in 1994 to more than £39bn, Camelot said.
The boost in good-cause cash comes after concerns about the amount raised in recent years.
The money given to good causes from the National Lottery in the 2016/17 year fell by £293.5m on the year before that because of a drop in sales.
The figures for the first six months of 2017/18 showed a fall of almost £37m on the year before, with the amount raised down to £746.6m. Despite this, sales rallied in the following six months and, by the end of the year, the lottery had generated £1.66bn for good causes, an increase of £27.3m on the previous year.
And this year’s figure is still down on the record high of £1.95bn raised in 2012/13.
Camelot said in a statement that its success in building on last year’s sales growth underlined the value of the work it had been carrying out as a result of the wide-ranging strategic review it conducted after revenue fell in 2017.
Nigel Railton, chief executive of Camelot, said: "Thanks to the work we’ve been carrying out after our comprehensive review of the business, we’ve made a very positive start to the financial year across the board.
"Everyone at Camelot is committed to ensuring that this success story continues, so we’ll be looking to build on this momentum by continuing to focus on those areas that we identified in the review."
He said the organisation would continue to make improvements across its retail and digital channels, and build on its efforts to make the National Lottery brand more relevant and visible.
"While there is much work still to do – and while we’ll continue to face challenges that are beyond our control, such as economic uncertainty and unrelenting competition from both the gambling sector and industrial-scale society lotteries that operate on a national basis – I’m very encouraged by the further progress we’ve made over the first half of this year," he said.
"I’m confident that the strong foundations we’ve put in place and the exciting plans we have lined up will help us to deliver even more for our players and the millions of people for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial."