National Lottery Hearing: MP John Nicolson says "greedy Camelot funds from society"

By Isabella Aslam

Today, the DCMS (Departure for Legal, Culture, Media and Sport) Select Committee held the hearing for its National Lottery enquiry.

The overarching topic covered criticism towards operator Camelot Group, which is said to have made an increase in profits at a faster rate than an increase in funding for good causes. 

During the hearing, MP Kevin Brennan reported a statement from The Public Accounts Committee at the House of Commons’ published report.

He divulged: “The returns for good causes from The National Lottery did not increase at the same rate as Camelot's profits. The returns for good causes were only 2% higher in 2016/17 than they had been in 2009/10, whereas in the same period, Camelot's profits weren't 2% higher, they were 122% higher.”

Olympic Champion Adam Peaty commented: “Are the ‘good causes’ to make them [Camelot] look good? Are we funded to make them look good? I think if we are supported on these journeys, which has been incredible, there should be more funding for that and more funding for grassroots. If your profit is going up by 122% and good causes has only gone up by 2%, it doesn't take anyone with two brain cells to go ‘hold on a minute what's going on here.'” 

MP John Nicolson did not hold back his distaste for the operator, saying: “When I hear you [Peaty] had to pay homage to greedy Camelot which milks these profits, as we have heard from Kevin, the fact that you are instructed to be obsequious to them on camera made me feel terribly uncomfortable. 

“At the end of the day this is funded by gambling, and we know that gambling is funded by the poorest people often in society by the poorest areas in society.” 

A moral failure?

Brennan proceeded to ask Peaty his opinion on the statistics found on behalf of Camelot. He said: "Yes they are entitled to create a profit because they are contracted under that basis to produce the most resources they can, but would you agree with me that there is a massive moral failure on their part?"

Without answering a straight yes or no, Peaty explained that in that position, given the recorded statistics, he would feel morally depleted.

True or False

A spokesperson for Camelot told Gambling Insider: "It’s disappointing to see people once again referring to an outdated, flawed report – which gives an inaccurate picture of the current health of The National Lottery. We retain around 1% in profit after tax. Last year, we achieved record National Lottery sales of over £8.3bn and over £7.9bn of that went back to winners and society, compared with £78.1m retained in profit.

"Returns for Good Causes are now £500m more per year than they were at the start of the third licence back in 2009, while profit is up £33.6m. Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes who receive National Lottery funding are, like all funding recipients, asked to thank National Lottery players, not Camelot.”

Camelot added that the discussed figures by MP Brennan are in fact out of date, and that the figures from annual returns to Good Causes from ticket sales since 2016/17 were 19%, growing at almost double the rate of its profit after tax, at 11%. 

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