Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

National lottery operator Camelot reported record half-year sales on Tuesday as it goes into one of the toughest competitions for the new UK lottery license in its 27-year history in recent weeks.

The company, which has run the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, said it recorded sales of £ 3.9 billion in the six months to September 30, 2.7 per cent more than in the same period in 2020.

Sales have been boosted by an increase in players buying its draw-based Lotto game and an increase in marketing during the Summer Olympics. Camelot said its net profit represents 1 percent of sales.

The amount Camelot returned to good causes was £ 884.5 million, a 2.4 per cent increase on a year earlier.

The results come as Camelot awaits a decision by the gambling regulator on whether to retain the lottery license for a fourth time following a fierce competition for the lucrative government contract.

Bidders submitted their final bids to the Gambling Commission at investment bank Rothschild’s head office in London this month. A final decision on who will run the lottery from 2023, when the current license expires, will be announced in February.

Others competing to win the contract include Italian lottery operator Sisal, the Czech gambling company Bet and media mogul Richard Desmond.

One person close to Camelot said he expected the result to be “near” and that the company had hired cross-bench counterpart Lord David Pannick to represent him in the event that the result was contested by one of the losers and there ‘. was a judicial review. .

One Camelot rival for the lottery license said the final submission process was grueling, with contestants delivering a three-hour presentation followed by two hours of questioning.

Camelot CEO Nigel Railton said the high sales figures were not the product of extra efforts before the bid. “I was always focused on our performance,” he added. “We had four and a half years of sales growth and the strategy was consistent.”

Railton took the lead at Camelot in 2017 after a difficult period for the company during which the returns to good business fell and the Gambling Commission was fined more than £ 1 million for “historic control and management failures”.

Bidders for the next lottery license are strictly prohibited by the regulator from publicly commenting on their prospects in the competition, but Railton said “as a management team we feel we are only just starting”.

Camelot declined to comment on Pannick’s appointment.

In a sign of the slow recovery in UK main streets following the coronavirus pandemic, Camelot said lottery ticket sales at its 44,000 retailers were still below 2019 levels.

Railton also warned the company could face a difficult year in 2022 as inflationary pressures hit discretionary spending by consumers.

“Consumer confidence is low, discretionary spending is under pressure, but we have a very resilient business,” he said.

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