C-store retailers have reflected on the impact of the National Lottery to their businesses since its launch 25 years ago.

Nigel & Natalie - External

Natalie McKay with Camelot ceo Nigel Railton

To mark the 25th anniversary, National Lottery owner Camelot has awarded over 3,000 Good Cause plaques to retailers who have helped raise over £1m for Good Causes, and sent out personalised posters to all 44,000 retailers detailing how much they’ve raised for Good Causes.

Derrick Cooke, owner of Londis, Malvern, has been a National Lottery retailer for the past 25 years.

“As one of the very first retailers, the launch of The National Lottery was such a big thing – it was a revelation and one of the major things in UK history,” he said.

“Generally the National Lottery in our store has gone well, it’s been popular and evolved. It’s been successful and it is great to be a part in the success.”

Richard Barron, who owns six Spar stores in and around Chesterfield, said the Lottery had become a key part of the business over the past 25 years.

“It’s been an easy way to make a bit of extra money. It’s fool proof and worked for years. It probably makes us tens of thousands of pounds a year. We make more money in the blue collar areas rather than in the more affluent areas, especially with scratchcards,” he added.

“We’ve had smallish winners over the years. As you can cash your ticket at any store, we’ve cashed more than our share. Some weeks more goes out than comes in so for some stores I imagine it can be a cashflow issue but we get refunded quickly.”

“The National Lottery has played a big role in our business over the years and is still an important footfall driver for us today and sales are steady.”

Jamie Patel, Weybridge News, Surrey

Jamie Patel, owner of Weybridge News in Surrey, said the Lottery’s positive impact on his store had lessened recently since local supermarkets had introduced it.

“The National Lottery has played a big role in our business over the years and is still an important footfall driver for us today and sales are steady,” he said.

“However, we don’t see the pronounced spikes in ticket sales that we used to when there was a big jackpot or new game launch. It’s impact has been somewhat weakened since Waitrose introduced it a few years ago as there is a large Waitrose next to our store and then last year Morrisons opened just around the corner and it also does the Lottery.”

Natalie McKay, owner of McKays, Belfast, added: “It’s been great selling National Lottery tickets for the past 25 years in my family’s shop. It brings in more customers and they look forward to playing every week. Some have even been playing from day one and know their numbers from memory.

“We’re actually called the ‘lucky shop’ as we had a player win the jackpot after buying their ticket here back in 1998. It was in the paper and it was all very exciting. Players started coming to the shop because they believed it to be lucky, and that name has stuck with us ever since.”

National Lottery: 25 facts and figures

1. 14 November 1994: First National Lottery tickets go on sale

2. 19 November 1994: First National Lottery draw

3. 30, 3, 5, 44, 14 and 22, the bonus ball was 10: The first numbers drawn

4. 10,000: Retail terminals and 35,000 staff trained within 6 months in 1994

5. £6.5bn: Total retailer commission earned since 1994

6. £123.6bn: Total retail sales since 1994

7. Northern-most retailer Skibhoul Stores, Unst, Shetland

8. 36,000: National Lottery retail partners in England

9. 44,000: National Lottery retail partners across the UK

10. 50/50 split between winning a big prize by picking your numbers or by choosing a Lucky Dip

11. £40bn: Total raised for Good Causes since 1994

12. 565,000: Total number of projects funded since 1994

13. Over £26bn: Total raised for Good Causes in England since 1994

14. Over 340,000: Total number of grants awarded in England since 1994

15. £73bn: Total prize money awarded since 1994

16. 5,500: Millionaires and multi-millionaires created since 1994

17. 100 UK millionaires in one night, twice on EuroMillions in 2012 and 2013

18. £170m: Biggest win – EuroMillions, October 2019

19. £16.5bn: Total Lottery Duty since 1994

20. 240,465: Retailers trained since 1994

21. 384,744: Hours of retailer training since 1994

22. £4m: Biggest Scratchcard win

23. March 1995: Launch of first Scratchcard (Blue £1)

24. June 2018: Limited edition Gold Playstations launched in retail

25. Drivers have won more million pound prizes than any other profession. Builders are second.

The rest of the top 10 are Administration, Engineering/Manufacturing, Catering-chef-cook, Shop-retail, Care-social work-charity, Sales marketing, Accounting-bookkeeping.

Source: Camelot