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Local retailers worry about future of UK National Lottery in stores

Jun 7, 2021, 11:44 am

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Convenience stores worry about the Lottery moving closer to digital sales channels

By Kate Northrop

Lottery retailers in the United Kingdom are expressing concerns about the future of the lottery in brick-and-mortar stores now that the contract for operating the lottery is up for grabs.

Camelot Group has run the National Lottery for nearly three decades. Now that the contract is up for renewal, local retailers worry that a new operator would mainly prioritize online sales and push out smaller stores.

Bidding for the contract opened last August with some prime contenders in the mix, including Europe's biggest lottery provider Allwyn as well as Northern & Shell, the operator of the Health Lottery. Other candidates are Sisal, the licensee of Italy's SuperEnalotto, and Sugal & Damani, India's largest lottery operator.

To get a pulse on how retailers currently view the current operator's performance, The Grocer, a British magazine devoted to grocery sales, surveyed 250 convenience stores that sell lottery products. The survey found that a third of convenience retailers are unsure about the prospect of a new license holder taking over, with 11.2% saying they're worried about change.

The survey also revealed a high approval rating of Camelot's management of the lottery, with the average satisfaction score being an 8.2 out of 10.

Currently, Camelot works with over 44,000 retailers in the UK, most of which are independent outlets. According to the operator, National Lottery retailers earn 5% commission for each draw-based game sold and 6% on each scratch-off ticket sold, as well as 1% on certain prizes paid out in-store.

The Grocer's survey also found that nearly half of convenience retailers (44%) say the National Lottery is more important than ever to their business, with mere months left until the Gambling Commission announces whether Camelot will hold on to the license for a fourth term.

Many retailers are worried that a new operator would promote online sales to the point where smaller businesses that rely on selling lottery products would get pushed out of the picture.

"Currently, the National Lottery does have an online presence, but I've heard that some of the bidders want to do a lot more online and from a high street point of view, and from the point of view of community-based retailing, we need to protect bricks and mortar," Deputy VP at the National Federation of Retailer Newsagents (NFRN) Jason Birks said. "Those in government need to not only view online as the 'trendy' thing to do but bear in mind that people still like to visit bricks and mortar retailing."

However, there were some respondents in the survey (5%) who said that they would welcome a change in lottery management, advocated for better support, and called for newer, more innovative products.

"I don't think Camelot deserves another license, as for the last few years they have been very average with limited innovation, mediocre support for retailers with too much red tape," a local retailer said to The Grocer. "A new licensee should create a fresh approach and more energy."

Finally, many other convenience stores were neutral or ambivalent about the change and thought that a contract with a new operator would have little impact on their business at the end of the day.

"The overwhelming majority of retailers were unsure or indifferent to the possibility of a new operator taking over the National Lottery license with a large proportion citing that the change makes no difference or that it doesn't matter highlighting the difficulties in changes to habits and ingrained behaviors," Lumina Intelligence Senior Insights Manager Katie Prowse stated.

Camelot conveyed that it aims to strike a balance between online and in-person sales channels to benefit all retailers while sustaining significant sales figures.

"We fundamentally believe that The National Lottery's success — which culminated in record sales last year — is reliant on building and maintaining a healthy retail channel," the operator said in a statement. "That's why we've invested heavily in retail at the same time as growing the largest digital lottery channel in the world by revenue.... While we're unable to share specific details of our bid, we can say that Camelot's philosophy remains the same — with retail being a cornerstone of our strategy. National Lottery retailers have been fantastic partners to us over the past 27 years, and, as they've always been there for us, they can expect our continued support."

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9 comments. Last comment 3 days ago by noise-gate.
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Simpsonville
United States
Member #163182
January 22, 2015
2584 Posts
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This will be interesting on how it plays out.    Not sure if younger players coming of age will support the lottery as much as it is now.  That is probably why on-line lottery is so popular that you can play states own 'scratch' tickets.  Also in store here there is one instant on-line game---Fast Cash---which probably appeals to folks wanting instant gratification.

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    Chasing $ Millions.
    White Shores- California
    United States
    Member #136471
    December 12, 2012
    6622 Posts
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    GIF by Doctor Who

     * Voice of Reason *   

    * The Truth Hurts *

    People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

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      Gallatin Tennesee
      United States
      Member #194096
      November 29, 2018
      19 Posts
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      The National Lottery recorded record sales last year, but now they are considering switching over to all digital? Why? Let Camelot continue to run the lottery until they give you a real reason to take it away. If the retailers in England depend on walk-in lottery customers, I see no reason to change at the moment.

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        Northern Beaches
        Australia
        Member #187034
        January 9, 2018
        139 Posts
        Offline

        I have read that over nine million people play UK National Lottery games online. The UK Lottery has a very convenient direct debit service for subscribers. Also, small prizes are automatically credited to the same bank account. If you win a jackpot, you have to go through the regular claims process. The UK Lottery has proven to be a very successful lottery, raising billions of pounds for community projects across the UK.

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          Belgium
          Member #214858
          April 17, 2021
          188 Posts
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          I'm playing online for several years now. Of course the price in the shop is the same than online.

          I prefer to play with paper forms. The lotto changed, I meet less people buying tickets. The sports-betting seemed to be in the lift, especially with brown and black immigrants.

          For a Fistful of Dollars – Per un pugno di dollari

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            New Member

            United States
            Member #215195
            May 6, 2021
            4 Posts
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            Most young people are investing on crypto currency and meme stock market than other buying lottery tickets

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              Belgium
              Member #214858
              April 17, 2021
              188 Posts
              Offline

              Most young people are investing on crypto currency and meme stock market than other buying lottery tickets

              That increases the dependency of Internet provision and devices. Online betting, online banking, BTC-payments (Venezuela?), online administration etc.

              The other is that you need a mobile phone number to identify. For a prepaid card, you need your EID. They try to fight use of mobiles for drugs businesses and import, and crimes, like passing blacks into the EU. You can pick the shop or play at home, otherwise you might get a clerk that is an immigrant or others hang around there for political reasons or other. It's full of black african propaganda. Trojan horses are around for black tourism and other. Islam, asian or african, south american, I saw no end. The last years were not nice.

              For a Fistful of Dollars – Per un pugno di dollari

                Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
                50
                Chief Bottle Washer
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #1
                May 31, 2000
                26268 Posts
                Online

                GIF by Doctor Who

                If your favorite local shop is forced to shut down because they no longer receive all the foot traffic that is brought in by lottery sales, then yes, you would need to worry about it.  Also, it's a story about the lottery industry and Lottery Post reports about the lottery industry.

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                  Chasing $ Millions.
                  White Shores- California
                  United States
                  Member #136471
                  December 12, 2012
                  6622 Posts
                  Offline

                  If your favorite local shop is forced to shut down because they no longer receive all the foot traffic that is brought in by lottery sales, then yes, you would need to worry about it.  Also, it's a story about the lottery industry and Lottery Post reports about the lottery industry.

                  I Agree!

                   * Voice of Reason *   

                  * The Truth Hurts *

                  People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.