Chivalry – especially toward a damsel in distress – was the keyword at Camelot, the legendary court of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

This knightly quality is, however, not much in evidence at modern day Camelot, operator of Britain's national lottery, where ticket sales have continued to wane over a five year period. And damsels, alongside an expected hundred or so nobles, are set to join the Lady in the Lake as latterday Guinevere, chief executive Dianne Thompson, wields her personal Excalibur.

One distressed damsel is Camelot’s head of external affairs Sue Slipman, reportedly banished from the Court for failing to halt the lottery’s sales plunge or burnish its tarnished public image. But her distress has been ameliorated by a payoff of £200,000 ($312,940; €318,360), according to the Sunday Times.

Another occupant of the Round Table, deputy chief executive David Clark is expected to switch to part-time working – and presumably part-time pay – as part of a drive to lop 10% from the group’s operating costs.

Despite a £72 million relaunch of the twice-weekly prize draw as Lotto earlier this year – and the fact that 60% of British adults still play the lottery on a regular basis – annual revenues have fallen some 13%, from £5.5 billion in 1998 to a projected £4.8bn this year.

Camelot has also come under sustained fire over the percentage of its profits that pass to good causes. Research indicates that the public is prepared to spend more if it approves of the causes and organizations that benefit from the lottery.

Camelot refused to confirm or deny the weekend press reports, dismissing them as “speculation”.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff