Lottery sales figures in the UK
I would please like to request monthly lottery sales figures (number of tickets sold not revenue) in the UK for as many years back as you have access to.
Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
In your email you have requested monthly lottery sales figures (number of tickets sold not revenue) in the UK for as many years back as you (The Gambling Commission) have access to.
Please see the attached spreadsheet containing the information held by the Gambling Commission falling within the scope of your request.
When viewing these figures it should be noted that:
The Commission does not hold data detailing the volume of historic ticket sales. However, through applying calculations based on data the Commission does hold in respect of a) the value of historic ticket sales; b) the pricing of the different games within the National Lottery product portfolio, we have responded to your request to the extent that is possible.
Our response is therefore limited to the monthly ticket sales:
- During the Third National Lottery Licence period (February 2009 – March 2022) only, as that is the period for which we hold suitably robust historical data.
- For draw-based games only, as we do not hold data which would enable us to understand the historic volumes of sales of Scratchcards or Interactive Instant Win Games. This is because these products are (and have been) available at multiple price-points.
- Excluding the sales of historic draw-based games which are no longer sold, as we were unable to fully validate the historic data we hold for those games.
I can confirm that the Commission does hold information from March 2022 onwards. However, we consider this information to be of a commercially sensitive nature and therefore exempt under section 43 of the FOIA.
With the recency of the figures, given the operator has not yet reported formally on the period from April 2022 onwards, the release of such information at this time could be damaging to the operator’s commercial interests as the release of sales figures, in isolation, without appropriate context and explanation of overall sales performance leaves them open to misinterpretation.
Section 43(2) exempts information where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests of any legal person (an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other legal entity).
Information that we hold relating to the 'number of plays' data would provide insight into the detailed sales performance of each individual draw based game. This information would make it clear which games are the best performers and could be used by a competitor to recreate and promote the games which perform strongest for The National Lottery.
This is particularly true given the games and detailed information on the features of each product are publicly accessible via the National Lottery website.
Ultimately, disclosure of this information could therefore result in the data being used by other operators to provide products to consumers who otherwise would have played a National Lottery product. This could adversely affect National Lottery sales, and in turn, the level of returns to Good Causes – consequently impacting on the Commission’s statutory duties.
Section 43 is a qualified exemption and we are required to consider whether maintaining the exemption is in the public interest.
Arguments in favour of disclosure:
- There is a legitimate public interest in promoting the transparency of the Commission and in making information available to the public.
- Further to this, there is a legitimate public interest in understanding the performance of the National Lottery as a vehicle for providing money to good causes.
Arguments in favour of maintaining the exemption:
- To the extent that there is a public interest in understanding how National Lottery products are performing, sales data is already published routinely, which should provide such an understanding.
- The release of such figures without appropriate context and explanation of overall sales performance leaves them open to misinterpretation, either inadvertently or deliberately, by third parties who can then go on to paint a misleading picture of The National Lottery based on partial information.
- This could adversely affect sales of the National Lottery, as a consequence, having an impact on the level of funding raised for Good Causes.
Weighing the balance.
Having weighed these issues, the Commission is of the view that the public interest is best served through maintaining this exemption.
Whilst the Commission aims to be open and transparent, there is a need to preserve the confidentiality of information submitted on that basis and to be mindful of the commercial sensitivities of information that is held. There is very little that providing this information would do in terms of the public interest whilst disclosure would be likely to impact on the commercial interests of the operator and the statutory duties of the Gambling Commission.
Review of the decision
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email.
Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.
If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission.
The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Information Management Team
Victoria Square House
Birmingham B2 4BP
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