Cash-strapped families across Britain are increasingly putting their faith in winning a bumper jackpot, as sales of National Lottery tickets hit record highs.
Camelot UK, which runs the National Lottery, was yesterday revealed as the real winner, with sales up a fifth to £3.2bn in the six months to 24 September. This marked the group's best ever interim period and it is now the seventh largest lottery in the world in terms of sales.
In the interim period, the company paid out a record £1.6bn in prize money. Camelot said: "This outstanding performance once again underlines the ongoing effectiveness of Camelot's strategy for long-term, responsible growth which aims to encourage many people to play but to each spend relatively little."
The lottery has created 2,700 millionaires and multi-millionaires to date, including the pair who banked the £161m EuroMillions jackpot in August.
The company was keen to point out that the rise in sales had led to increased returns of £918.3m to good causes, up from £784.8m a year earlier. Camelot has paid out £27bn for good causes since its launch in 1994 and £40bn in prize money.
Dianne Thompson, the chief executive of Camelot, said: "It's the result of our proven strategy for responsible growth that has seen our sales rise steadily and our player numbers increase over the long term by encouraging many people to play but to spend relatively small amounts."