Camelot sales up for first time in five years

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Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery, is in talks with a number of mobile phone companies to allow customers to buy tickets over the phone, it said yesterday after announcing the first rise in lottery ticket sales since 1998.

It is also about to embark on a pilot scheme with Tesco to try selling Lottery tickets at supermarket checkouts.

Britons are in any case flocking back to the National Lottery after years of dwindling interest in the game. Camelot said an extra £40m was spent on tickets in the 12 months to the end of March, bringing the total spent on lottery games to £4.6bn. About £88m was spent on the Lottery every week, compared with £48m when it was launched in 1994.

Camelot yesterday said its EuroMillions lottery was proving very successful. This combines prize money from Spain and France and has created unprecedented jackpots of more than £16m. A string of other countries are trying to join the EuroMillions lottery and by the end of the year, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland and Switzerland will be in the pool.

EuroMillions and the Daily Play draws, together with scratchcards, now account for 30 per cent of all sales. The declining sales for the Lotto draw appear to be bottoming out, with sales down 4 per cent last compared with a 12 per cent drop in the previous year.