Lottery operator Camelot has announced dramatic changes to the sales targets it sets for retailers in a move that should result in fewer stores having their terminals withdrawn for not selling enough tickets.
From September 1, it will lower the minimum level of lottery ticket sales it requires retailers to meet from £1,400 per week to £1,000.
The changes mean that 80% of the retailers whose terminals are currently under review will not be threatened with their removal, cutting the number of outlets currently on Camelot’s Sales Improvement Programme from 1,300 to just 300.
Camelot also plans to cut the duration of the programme from
two years to just nine weeks, so that under-performing terminals can be redistributed quicker.
At the same time, Camelot is to review applications for terminals every 12 weeks, as opposed to every year, saying this is another way of speeding up the allocation of terminals.
The lottery operator believes the changes being made to the improvement programme will allow it to allocate more resources to support its retailers.
The moves will be welcomed by retailers - as demand for terminals remains high.
However, the decision on sales target has sparked mixed reaction from the trade. Some retailers are welcoming the initiative because it will make it easier for them to install terminals. But others warn it may also anger those retailers who have recently had their terminals removed for failing to meet the previous targets.
Meanwhile, the Association of Convenience Stores says it will be working with Camelot to ensure independent retailers continue to be favoured as it frees up lottery terminals.
Its stance has partly been prompted by Camelot’s plans to boost sales via new consumer channels. An ACS spokesman said: “The National Lottery has been a great boon for retailers in the past 11 years, but it’s important the focus stays with independent retailers.”
Camelot said it had no reason to change the current 60/40 bias towards independent retailers.
News of the initiative came as Camelot launched its first Olympics-themed lottery game.
Sales of the Go For Gold scratchcard will form part of a £1.5bn pot of funding for the 2012 London Olympics provided by the company. Half of the pot will come from dedicated lottery games, including a new draw-based game that is due to be launched next year.
Rod Addy