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Statistics and research release

National Lottery funds payable to good causes 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 - Annual Report

Funds payable to the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) for the financial year and versus last financial year. Reporting period: Financial year 2020/21 (1 April to 31 March).


Since its launch in November 1994, the National Lottery has raised over £43 billion for good causes that include sports (including Olympic athletes), arts and heritage, as well as health, education and the environment.

Funds are raised from the sale of National Lottery games and supplemented by unclaimed prizes and interest on balances of funds held.

The funds for good causes are held in the NLDF, with the Gambling Commission ensuring that payments from the Lottery operator to the good causes are accurate and on time.


Payments to the NLDF for the financial year differ to the total returns reported in the operator’s statutory accounts due to:

  • timing differences between amounts due and payable
  • a number of adjustments which are only reflected in the NLDF payments figure, such as investments under Condition 23 of the Section 5 Licence.

The following table reconciles the Basic Primary Contribution due from sales to funds payable to good causes1.

2020 to 2021
£ millions
2019 to 2020
£ millions
Basic Primary Contribution1,795.51,730.1
Investments under Condition 23 of Section 5 Licence2-60.0-59.3
Other adjustments under the Section 5 Licence3-10.6-11.7
Primary Contribution payable to good causes1,724.91,659.1
Unclaimed prizes100.3123.3
Interest from Trust Account0.00.0
Other miscellaneous payments46.25.9
Total funds payable to good causes1,831.41,788.2

The following table shows the funds payable to good causes as reported by quarter:

2020 to 2021
£ millions
2019 to 2020
£ millions
Quarter 1382.3388.2
Quarter 2452.9460.9
Quarter 3444.8500.1
Quarter 4551.3439.1
Total funds payable to good causes1,831.41,788.2


1 Payments to the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF).

2 Amounts drawn down in the financial year.

3 Includes permitted VAT recovery, funding for the National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) and interest on primary contributions.

4 Includes secondary contributions, payments for lost and stolen scratchcards, financial penalties and ancillary activities.

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