The amount of money raised for good causes from the National Lottery rose by almost £21m in the first half of this financial year, new figures show.
The lottery operator Camelot said record ticket sales of just under £4bn between 1 April and 25 September resulted in £884.5m being raised for good causes over the same period.
This is up from £863.7m in the same period last year, Camelot said.
The figure raised for good causes would have been higher but for a sharp drop in the amount of unclaimed prizes, which are also distributed to voluntary sector organisations.
The highest six-month return for good causes was £952.8m raised in 2012/13, which was driven by a high level of unclaimed prizes.
“Even though the year-on-year good causes uplift (2.4 per cent) pretty much mirrors the uplift in sales (2.7 per cent), this would be far higher if not for the reduction in unclaimed prizes,” a spokesperson said. “Although obviously a reduction in unclaimed prizes is good news for players.”
Camelot said the increase in ticket sales had been down to strong performance from its draw-based games, particularly Lotto, and the connection between the lottery and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It said the amount raised for good causes since the National Lottery was launched in 1994 had passed £45bn.
Sir Hugh Robertson, chair of Camelot, said: “Our profit was once again aligned with returns to good causes at the half-year stage and will be around 1 per cent of sales for the full year in accordance with our licence.
“An incredible £45bn has now been raised for National Lottery good causes – 65 per cent more than the most optimistic Treasury forecasts at the time of launch.”