Retail sales of National Lottery games have recovered to near pre-pandemic levels.

In its latest financial results for the year ending 31 March 2021, National Lottery operator Camelot said retail sales during the second half of the year had “recovered strongly” as in-store sales for the whole year declined annually from £5.4bn to £4.8bn. Of 44,000 National Lottery retailers, more than 90% continued trading throughout lockdown.

Camelot added satisfaction scores for its independent retail rewards programme were at their “highest-ever level.” Commission paid to retailers was the equivalent of £6,200 per store.

Overall, sales for all six of its draw-based games increased by £153.6m to £4.6bn during the period. This was driven by a new feature in its Lotto game, which offered an additional cash prize of £5 for matching two main numbers.

The company also recorded its highest ever digital sales at £3.5bn due to pandemic buying habits. Mobile sales grew by £876m to £2.4bn. Camelot also reported growth in sales of online instant games amid a decline in scratchcard sales due to lower retail footfall.

However, despite the success in digital, Camelot CEO Railton said the National Lottery’s digital platform would be able to support its retail business, “rather than cannibalise one another.”

Total National Lottery Sales increased by £468.8m to £8.3bn for the financial year, surpassing £8bn for the first time. Railton added: “In what has been an extraordinarily challenging year, The National Lottery has demonstrated incredible resilience and flexibility to achieve this record performance.

“These results are a culmination of all of the work we’ve done over the last few years in the areas of brand, games, retail and digital. This, together with our years of experience and longstanding commitment to being a world leader in healthy play, have helped us ensure this vital boon for society when it’s been needed most. And it’s these strengths that mean that we will continue to deliver for the benefit of everyone.

“I’m very grateful to our partners in retail who went to work each day to serve their communities, and to National Lottery Distributors who got funding out the door when it was essential. As ever, I’d particularly like to thank National Lottery players because more than 37 million people bought a ticket last year, and when they did they played their part in an extraordinary national effort.”