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A 3.2% decline in National Lottery sales translates into a £6.4m cut for arts funders across the UK.

Photo of lottery tickets

National Lottery sales have continued to slump in the first half of 2017, causing a 4.7% fall in returns to good causes.

Lottery operator Camelot has revealed receipts from 1 April to 23 September 2017 were down 3.2% to £3.3bn.

Overall, this translates to around a £6.4m cut in lottery funding for the UK’s arts councils.

“A fall in sales is never welcome but, as we announced in June, we did anticipate a further sales decline this year – so our performance over the half-year is in line with expectations,” commented Nigel Railton, CEO of Camelot UK, as he announced plans to bring the National Lottery back into growth.

The news follows a much sharper drop across the whole of last year, in which collapsing sales caused returns to the arts to plummet by £55m.

Regional decline

The reduced income for National Lottery Good Causes has ramifications for national arts funders across the UK.

Funds returned to Arts Council England, which receives 14% of all good causes income, will have dropped by around £5m, to just over £104m.

Similarly, returns to Creative Scotland will have dropped by around £700k to £13.3m across the six-month period; the Arts Council of Wales will have suffered a drop of approximately £400k to £7.5m; and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will have lost around £200k, down to £4.2m.

Future plans

Camelot has revealed a raft of changes aimed at increasing growth and raising “as much money as possible” for good causes, as part of its strategic review that was announced in June.

These include making National Lottery games available at self-checkout, developing its digital offer and doubling the size of its sales force.

The announcement follows a plea from the Scottish Culture Secretary and Sports Minister for Culture Secretary Karen Bradley to develop a lottery “recovery plan”.

Commenting on the news, a DCMS spokesperson said: “We have been completely clear to Camelot that its strategic review must tackle the issue of declining National Lottery tickets. The Gambling Commission, which regulates the National Lottery, will also continue to challenge Camelot’s performance to ensure they maximise returns to good causes.”

Coordinated campaign

Camelot’s announcement also comes as National Lottery distributors across the UK are joining together to highlight the contribution of lottery funding to society.

Split across four weeks – one per Good Causes strand – the coordinated campaigns will see lottery ticket buyers offered free or discounted entry to selected heritage sites, and artists and arts organisations using social media to thank the public.