May 23, 2005, 10:51 am
UK National Lottery ticket sales rose more than £150 million (US$275 million) last year, thanks in part to soaring sales on the Internet and mobile phones.
In total, interactive sales via the Internet, the Sky interactive service, and Play by Text on mobile phones were up more than 600% to £87.5 million (US$160 million).
Total ticket sales rose to £4.77 billion (US$8.73 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 31, a 3.3% increase, and £60 million (US$110 million) more went to the 'Good Causes', which collected £1.3 billion (US$2.4 billion).
While operator Camelot is planning yet more offshoot games, the main Lotto game saw a 0.4% rise in ticket sales, compared to a 4% drop last year. The total number of winning National Lottery tickets rose by around 12% on last year to 257 million.
The news comes as Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell prepares plans to give punters a greater say in which charities benefit from lottery sales.
Camelot said it intends to bid for its third Lottery license after its current license ends in January 2009.
It plans to roll out its National Lottery Fast Pay across the country in the coming year. The system is being piloted in 10 Tesco stores, where players can buy their tickets at the checkouts.
The operator also wants to offer a new Lotto HotPicks game which would enable players to win by picking just one number. This is subject to approval by the Lottery regulator.
A £130,000 (US$238,000) HotPicks prize for picking and matching five numbers which appear in the main Lotto draw is due to launch this year. Also, more themed scratch cards will be launched following last year's Star Wars and Scrabble cards.
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