Newly released figures showed an average commission of £2,800 per site since April, compared to an estimated £3,500 the year before.
The 20% fall outstripped the 19% decline in retail sales, blamed on lower-margin scratchcards gaining ground in the mix of lottery products sold.
While retail sales for the six-month period fell £522.4m, online sales rose £455m, driven by 1.3 million new online registrations.
Despite this, retail sales have recovered by 15.2% over the past three months, with Camelot retail director Jenny Blogg predicting the gap would be plugged by April.
However, concerns remain over how many customers who had switched to online would return to playing lottery games in store.
Blogg told betterRetailing: “It’s a bit of an unknown. We know some of those who have paused play or switched to online. It’s because they are shielding, or are vulnerable or just don’t feel safe,” she said.
Despite independents winning a greater market share of lottery retail sales during the pandemic, the Camelot director said further self-checkout partnerships with multiples were needed “to serve shoppers in a way that suits them”.
Challenged on how Camelot was serving the rising numbers of shoppers using deliveries from local shops, Blogg said: “We are yet to have a solution or know what the answer is, but it’s on our radar.”
Despite the challenges, the director said Camelot had worked hard to support independent retailers. Its reps returned to store visits on 24 November, it introduced its Christmas scratchcard range and is planning events earlier to help stores prepare. The company is also using targeted outdoor adverts to direct customers to nearby lottery outlets.
Camelot also introduced remote Site, Stock, Sell rewards through tnlretailerhub.co.uk. “It didn’t feel fair to not give those rewards to retailers just because Camelot was off the road,” Blogg said.
The lottery operator has also planned events designed help drive the “retail recovery” including a big jackpot Must-Be-Won Lotto draw on 23 December, and a ‘10 guaranteed UK Euro-Millions millionaires’ on 31 December.
Blogg said: “There are things we can’t control, but what we can control is executing great events and making it safe and easy to sell, and safe and easy to buy in stores.”