Lottery firm Camelot has record sales for the half-year

Image caption,
Camelot said it has been able to give another £785m to good causes

National Lottery operator Camelot saw a record £2.72bn spent on its games in the six months to 25 September.

Camelot said the 3.6% rise on the same period last year marked its highest half-year sales figure yet.

It meant that the returns to good causes rose £27.6m, or just over 3.5%, to £784.8m for the six months.

Chief executive Dianne Thompson said Camelot did well in spite of the poor economic climate and a worldwide trend of slowing lottery sales.

During the half-year, Camelot increased sales of both draw-based games and instant play games.

Sales of the former grew from £1.98m to £2.05m, while sales of the latter rose from £641.6m to £672.2m.

Sales of instant play games were boosted by the launch of new scratch cards and online games, including the introduction of the 3D game Monopoly.

The firm, which launched the first Lotto draw on 19 November 1994, was taken over by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in July in a deal worth £389m.

Camelot said it has increased sales by 14% over the past five years as it has driven growth across retail and direct sales channels.

Web and subscription sales grew to £369.2m in the half-year and Camelot said it runs the biggest online lottery in the world with more than five million people registered to play.

Ms Thompson said the results were an "extremely" good start to the year, and promised "lots of exciting plans in the pipeline" to boost sales further.

The national lottery has raised more than £25bn for good causes and created more than 2,500 millionaires or multi-millionaires since 1994.

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