Lottery leads UK gambling market decline

Lottery leads UK gambling market decline

Thursday, May 7, 2015 Totally Gaming
National Lottery participation has fallen considerably in the last two years

The UK’s National Lottery has seen a second successive year of significant decline in participation according to figures that suggest the country’s gambling industry is stagnating.

The Gambling Commission’s ‘Survey Data on Gambling Participation’ for the year to March 2015 shows that while activity in the rest of the gambling sector is flat compared to previous years, at around 31 per cent, Lottery participation is falling sharply.

The study, conducted by ICM Research, found that just 36 per cent of the 4,000 surveyed bought National Lottery draw tickets in the previous four weeks, compared to 41 per cent in 2014 and 47 per cent in 2013 – the last survey before the price of Lottery tickets was doubled to £2 in October 2013.

The effect of the fall in Lottery play means that just 51 per cent of UK residents now take part in gambling activities, compared to 56 per cent last year and 58 per cent in 2013.

Scratchcard play was also down, with 9 per cent taking part in the 2015, compared to 10 per cent a year ago and 11 per cent in 2013.

In late April, TotallyGaming.com reported that Lottery operator Camelot’s description of a “record-breaking performance” with sales of £7.27bn (€10.15bn/$11.17bn) was misleading due to the rise in price of draw tickets.

A Camelot spokesperson told TotallyGaming.com: “National Lottery player numbers tend to fluctuate slightly in either direction from time to time.

“What’s important is that we continue to have lots of people playing our games but each spending relatively small amounts – something we’ve always publicly said is the way we want to do business. That’s one of the reasons why the National Lottery has been so successful since its launch in 1994.”

Total sales of draw-based games in 2014-15 were £4.65bn, which was an increase of £59m on 2013-14. However, with ticket prices for Lotto tickets twice the cost of previous years, that figure is dwarfed by the £4.39bn of draw-based sales achieved in 2010-11.

While Camelot has a duty to run a successful Lottery, the company is keen to emphasise that its focus is not simply on revenue or participation.

The company also has a duty to generate funds to give to Good Causes, and Camelot says that it raised £1.8bn – more than £34m each week – in the year to March 31, 2015.

The spokesperson told TotallyGaming.com: “We recently announced our best-ever year of sales for 2014/15, as well as a record-breaking amount shared by National Lottery Good Causes and players – sales, Good Causes returns and prize money are very much our key performance indicators.

“It’s also vital that we do this in a socially-responsible way – our strategy for long-term, responsible growth has seen our sales steadily increase by 52 per cent over the last decade.”

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