Camelot under fire from MPs over problem gambling and good causes proceeds

By Peter Lynch

A group of MPs has criticised Camelot for its move towards app-based games as opposed to traditional games, following the company’s most recent results.

The cross-party group has called for ministers to consider action against the National Lottery operator, saying that app-based games worsen problem gambling and reduce the amount of money given to good causes.

It comes after Camelot’s latest financial results showed that two-thirds of sales growth in 2020 and 2021 came through instant win games, primarily online.

The criticism from both Conservative and Labour MPs also focused on the proceeds of instant win games, with the group saying that 9% of proceeds from such games go to community causes, compared to 31% of draw-based game styles.

Camelot has rejected the criticism, saying that overall sums given to good causes have increased, and that the growth of online sales also includes traditional draws bought via the app.

A Camelot spokesperson said: “By giving people a choice of safe and enjoyable games that they want to play, by making those games attractive and generous to players, and by enabling people to play in ways that suit them best, we’re generating record monetary returns to good causes from ticket sales, record prize money to players and record payments in lottery duty to the Treasury – all in a responsible way.”

But that view is not shared by Alexander Stafford, the Conservative MP for Rother Valley. “People trust the National Lottery as a brand and want to get behind its charitable mission statement,” said Stafford. “But these controversial instant win games are herding people towards a more dangerous form of gambling, putting vulnerable people at risk.”

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