Sales of the National Lottery have grown both in-store and online to reach their highest-ever level, operator Camelot has reported in its latest results.

In the six months to September 24, 2011, total National Lottery sales grew to £3.26bn, an increase of 19.9% on the same period last year. Despite a sharp rise in subscription and online sales, turnover through retail outlets grew from £2.35bn to £2.75bn, an increase of 17%.

Returns to the lottery’s good causes reached a record high of £918.3m, with an additional £650m already raised to support the 2012 Olympic Games.

Camelot attributed the growth to innovation and a regularly refreshed portfolio of games. It also deflected criticism it was encouraging people to spend more in hard times by pointing out that the UK National Lottery was only the 60th largest in the world in terms of per capita spend, despite being the seventh largest overall.

Camelot chief executive Dianne Thompson said: “This success isn’t an overnight phenomenon. It’s the result of our proven strategy for responsible growth.”