Camelot, holder of the monopoly franchise on Britain’s National Lottery, is mulling the increase of its advertising budget to £90 million annually in the hope of countering sagging sales – now below £5 billion per year.

Reporting a slump in pre-tax profits from £56m to £49.1m for the year to December, Camelot chair Sir George Russell revealed that sales fell to £4.983bn during 2000 – the lowest level since the lottery’s launch in 1994. He blamed the slide on the uncertainty caused by last year’s prolonged legal battle against lottery rival Sir Richard Branson for the renewal of the seven-year licence.

Last month Camelot said it would increase its annual ad budget from £58m to around £75 – music to the ears of incumbent creative agency, Havas-owned WCRS. Yesterday, Sir George promised a “large investment” of up to £90m annually to increase future sales, creating something akin to a heavenly choir in WCRS' aural organ.

Said Russell: “We shall continue to support a range of new and exciting games through significant marketing investment, during this fiscal year, as well as throughout the second licence."

News source: CampaignLive (UK)