NATIONAL Lottery bosses are planning to slash the odds of winning in a bid to reverse tumbling ticket sales.
It follows an outcry from fed-up punters after operator Camelot increased ticket prices but made it harder to win the jackpot.
Yesterday the firm revealed UK lottery sales fell 3.2 per cent to £3.2bn in the six months to September 23, compared with the same period last year.
It has appointed a new chief executive, Nigel Railton, to making sweeping changes to its games and get business back on track.
The plans include changes to Lotto "to give players a better winning experience" and a new "annuity-style game" where players win regular sums of money for the rest of their lives.
There are also plans to sell tickets at self-service checkouts in supermarkets, and a discount stores like Aldi and Lidl.
Mr Railton said: "I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead of us. It is going to take some time to turn things around.
"However, given the areas for improvement that we’ve identified, I firmly believe that we have an excellent platform to get the National Lottery back where it should be next year – in growth, creating more winners than ever before, and delivering even more money for the millions of people and thousands of communities for whom National Lottery funding is so crucial."
He added Lotto is the UK’s best-selling lottery game but "Camelot has listened to feedback from players". Planned changes could be introduced "without needing to change either the price or number matrix".
The cost of a Lotto ticket doubled to £2 in 2013 and the number of balls increased from 49 to 59 in 2015, reducing the odds of winning the jackpot from 1-in-14million to an astronomical 1-in-45million.
Camelot raised the price of EuroMillions tickets from £2 to £2.50 in 2016.
It also increased the number of lucky stars, meaning the chances of a jackpot win fell from 1-in-17million to 1-in-140million.
The National Lottery's odds of winning are among the worst in the world, compared with similar games in Europe, Australia and elsewhere.
Jo Taylor, Chairman of Camelot, said: “I am delighted to see Nigel appointed as the CEO of Camelot UK. He has a wealth of experience, a proven track record and is passionate about the role that the National Lottery plays in society. He is also uniquely qualified within the international lottery community, having been in a senior management position for over 19 years, as a CEO and formerly in strategy and finance.
“Under Nigel’s leadership, the new executive team at Camelot has recently concluded a thorough strategic review and designed a clear execution plan to put the business on a path to responsible and sustainable growth.”
Last month, we told how punters were unhappy about a lack of big payouts – after ten draws without a jackpot winner.
In the September 16 draw 52 people who correctly picked five balls won just £1,556 each.
Some spoke out on the National Lottery Facebook page, calling it "a waste of money and time".
Last week it emerged billionaire Richard Desmond had stepped up plans to bid for the National Lottery during the next tender process in 2019.
Camelot has held the franchise since its inception in 1994 and last faced a serious challenge for the lottery when a consortium led by Richard Branson lost out in 2000.
Odds of winning
- Being crushed by a meteor is considerably more likely than winning the lottery, with odds of 1 in 700,000.
- There’s a 1 in 10million chance you’ll die from being hit by a falling plane part, still more likely than a Lotto jackpot.
- Getting killed by lightning is almost 4 times more likely than winning the lottery. The chances of being fatally struck is 1 in 10 million.
- Giving birth to identical quadruplets is also more likely than winning the lottery, with odds of 1 in 13 million.
- Dating a supermodel is more likely than a Lotto windfall, with odds of 1-in-880,000.
- You're more likely to achieve sainthood than pick the winning numbers, at 1-in-20million
- Even being killed by a vending machine is more likely than scooping the Euromillions jackpot, with a 1-in-112million chance