Midweek Lottery draw squeezes Camelot profit>

The launch of the midweek National Lottery draw could hit profits at operator Camelot, which will make a loss of up to 2p on sales of each midweek ticket.

In accordance with the terms of its licence, Camelot is allowed to keep 5p in the pound for sales of tickets up to 3.36bn a year – a figure it has already surpassed with sales for the Saturday draw and Instants. This pays for running costs, tax and any profits. For sales above this level, Camelot can keep only 1.6p per pound spent. But the tickets cost the operator up to 3.5p in the pound in running costs.

Camelot says it is happy with the tranche structure on the midweek draw, which is surprising given the likelihood that it will hit profits.

The Lottery regulator Oflot refuses to say whether it is discussing changes in the structure with Camelot. But it is unlikely to want to do anything that diverts money from Good Causes.

Sales for the first midweek draw last week were 32.9m, affecting sales of the Saturday draw, which fell to 63.8m, down from an average of 70m a week. But a Camelot spokeswoman says: “It is too early to say how sales will settle down.”

The first two midweek draws have been affected by Camelot making them “superdraws”, where it puts an extra 10m into prizes.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that the midweek draw has hit other areas of the betting and gaming market.

A spokesman for Littlewoods, which markets the pools and scratchcards, says: “The midweek game has naturally had some effect on our business, though it is too early to put any figure on it. Early indications are for only a slight downturn.”

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