Camelot plans changes for Lotto following drop in sales

By Josie Clarke, Press Association Consumer Affairs Correspondent

National Lottery operator Camelot has signalled changes to Lotto on the back of “feedback from players” as it announced the appointment of Nigel Railton as its new permanent chief executive.

Camelot said it is currently testing a number of options for changes next year to its best-selling game to give players “a better winning experience”, all of which could be introduced without needing to change the “price or number matrix”.

It announced the changes alongside a 3.2% drop in overall ticket sales on last year’s first-half performance to £3.2 billion for the six months to September 23.

(PA)

It follows total ticket sales falling 8.8% to £6.9 billion for 2016/17 from a record £7.5 billion the previous year.

Changes to the Lotto draw in 2015 saw the number of balls increase from 49 to 59 and the chance of winning the jackpot decrease from one in 14 million to one in 45 million.

The cost of playing EuroMillions increased by 50p to £2.50 a line and players had to choose from an extra number under changes introduced in September last year that decreased the odds of winning the jackpot but promised bigger prizes and double the number of UK millionaires.

Camelot is looking at introducing a new game with the prize of as much as £10,000 a month, providing a lifetime annuity, instead of a lump sum as a way to attract new players.

It plans to position EuroMillions, Lotto and Thunderball as distinct products with “prizes and prices to suit different needs and pockets”, the introduction of a Tuesday Thunderball draw in the new year “to address the needs of players who value smaller, more frequent wins” and the launch early next year of a EuroMillions HotPicks, a variation on Lotto HotPicks.

There are also plans for shoppers to be able to buy National Lottery games at self-checkouts, as well as in discounters whose market share has grown considerably in recent years.

Camelot chairman Jo Taylor said: “Under Nigel’s leadership, the new executive team at Camelot has recently concluded a thorough strategic review and designed a clear execution plan to put the business on a path to responsible and sustainable growth.”

Mr Railton said: “Coming off the back of last year’s disappointing sales performance ­– and in the face of the very real threat posed by intensifying competition from the wider gambling sector, which benefits from significant taxation advantages, and continuing doubts over the economy – I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead of us. It is going to take some time to turn things around.

“However, given the areas for improvement that we’ve identified during the strategic review, Camelot’s impressive track record of success over the long term and the first-class team that I’ll be working with, I firmly believe that we have an excellent platform to get the National Lottery back where it should be next year – in growth, creating more winners than ever before, and delivering even more money for the millions of people and thousands of communities for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial.”

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