The government-franchised lottery run by Camelot sold £1.17 billion worth of Instant Win Games in 2020/21. The games are playable online or through a smartphone.
The company made a record-breaking number of sales during the COVID-19 pandemic: over 50% more than during the same period the year before.
Camelot earned £8.37 billion in game sales, a year-on-year increase of £468.8.
The majority of increased earnings came down to much better sales of Instant Win Games. Unlike Lotto (which is still a much greater overall earner), some of these games can be played multiple times. Some Instant Win Games cost as much as £5 per run. Games like “Wads in Your Wallet” can be played up to three times within a minute at 50p per game.
Games with more frequent betting options are associated with risky gambling. This makes the National Lottery Instant Win games more problematic for some players than games limited to two plays per week.
As a result, the National Lottery has agreed to withdraw £10 instant win games after the Gambling Commission’s research directly linked risky gambling and high-price games.
The National Lottery raised more than £43 billion to date for charities and good causes.
“The National Lottery was set up to provide funding for good causes, and people will perceive them as offering harmless fun. Offering more addictive Instant Win products is very far removed from this and should be stopped immediately,” said the former Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith.
A Camelot spokesperson took a different view: “Our objective is to raise as much money as possible for good causes – and our online Instant Win games, which have been available for 17 years, form just one part of an enjoyable and safe range of games that offer something for everyone.”
Camelot does include methods for limiting the amount users can spend on Instant Win Games to deal with risky gambling behaviour. This is standard practice for the best mobile bingo sites and many other online gaming venues and helps users play responsibly.