Camelot, the operator of the British National Lottery, has announced that it is looking into new innovations, including a monthly ‘Prize for Life’, in response to consistently falling sales. Other ideas include providing a ‘better winning experience’ for players and allowing players to purchase tickets at supermarket self-checkouts.
The British National Lottery is a state-franchised lottery, run by private company Camelot on behalf of the government, with 28% of all revenue directed to good causes and charitable projects across the country. Since last year, Camelot’s sales have decreased 3.2%, totaling a £746.6 million year-on-year difference in the first half of the 17/18 financial year. As a direct result of this, there has been a 4.7% decrease in funds allocated to good causes through the Lottery. Camelot has stated that they do not expect their sales to do better in the second half of the financial year.
This week, Camelot officially appointed Nigel Railton as the permanent CEO of its UK branch. Railton had already been leading the business in an interim capacity since his predecessor’s departure in April, and was previously in charge of Camelot Global. Railton has discussed the company’s fall in sales, and plans to make big changes in 2018 to attract new players to the game.
The most discussed and anticipated of these is the idea to bring in a monthly ‘Prize for Life’ to their lottery games, which would give players a regular amount for the rest of their lives instead of a lump sum. Whilst this sort of annuity-based prize is already popular worldwide – notably the US, where $10,000 a month prizes are common – the UK operates strictly with lump sum prizes. Railton expressed that this new addition to the National Lottery could attract players with ‘a different dream’ than that of the large, life-changing lump sum. Whilst the idea is currently still being discussed and evaluated, it could be operational as soon as 2019.
The National Lottery has struggled with popularity in the past few years, notably due to raises in ticket prices – the standard Lotto ticket doubled to £2 in 2013 and a Euromillions ticket went up to £2.50 in September 2016. There was also significant controversy in 2015, when ten additional balls were added to the draw, making it even harder to win. Instead of reversing these policies, Camelot’s strategy for 2018 prioritises innovation and the attraction of new players, with ideas such as lottery tickets at self-checkouts also being explored. They have already focused on creating variety within the National Lottery family of games, with draws of different sizes and frequencies which appeal to different types of players.
The pressure is on Camelot to bring back sales to the National Lottery, as their contract goes back out to tender in 2019. They have always been the operator of the Lottery since its inception in 1994, however they have had to re-bid for the project twice since: with this year’s poor results, it is imperative for the company to regain some of their trust with the public and bring some new excitement to the game if they are to continue.