Proposal to provide weekly updates on National Lottery ticket sales rejected

The government says the information would change too often to allow funders to make reliable predictions

The government has rejected a suggestion that it should provide weekly updates on National Lottery ticket sales to the organisations that distribute the proceeds to good causes to help them plan funding commitments.

In April, the Public Accounts Committee warned that declining sales meant the lottery distributors might not be able to meet funding commitments because of a fall in ticket sales for the live draw as people turned to scratchcards, which raise less money for good causes.

Part of the problem, the report said, was that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was not giving the distributors the information they needed to plan which grants to make in the future. It called for the DCMS to provide real-time information on weekly sales.

But in its response, published yesterday, the DCMS said it disagreed with this recommendation, saying weekly information would change too often to allow funders to make any reliable predictions.

It also said it would not expect the distributors to make and change spending plans on such a short-term basis.

"The department does not receive this level of granular data from the Gambling Commission and questions the added value it would bring," it said.

"Sales vary week by week due to a diverse range of factors, in particular, whether there have been any rollover jackpots, limiting the robustness of any conclusions regarding trends that could be drawn on a week-by-week basis."

The committee’s report also criticised the terms of the 14-year licence to run the lottery, which was last renegotiated in 2012, saying it was too generous to the operator Camelot and did not contain a reopener or break clause, so it can be changed only if Camelot agreed.

The DCMS response agrees with the committee recommendations that steps should be taken to secure a fair return for good causes from game changes proposed by Camelot over the remaining life of the current licence, and that flexibility needed to be built into the terms of the next licence.

But the DCMS says this is a matter for the Gambling Commission, which conducts the licence negotiations.

"The department confidently expects that the commission will take account of experiences of the third licence when designing the next to deliver a strong National Lottery beyond 2023," the response says.

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