Can ITV save UK Lotto?

Lotto Ticket

Interesting to see the UK Lotto draw back on TV this week. It’s over on ITV this time, in a much slimmed-down form from its BBC heyday, when the Saturday draw regularly attracted audiences of up to 17 million.

After a year off air, during which sales of the core Lotto draw declined by 3.2% to £3.2bn, Camelot was obviously keen to get its biggest game back on TV. The question is, with 70% of all players now stating they check their numbers online, is a live broadcast necessary or even relevant?

While some people will of course welcome the chance to watch the draw on their telly box, many players simply aren’t bothered. Viewing figures for the BBC show had dropped below 3 million by the time it was taken off air and figures for the game show ‘Who Dares Wins’, which used to include the Lotto draw, have barely moved.

Most players now either play online or buy their tickets at the store and then check their numbers online, which is probably why ITV is playing it safe with a very short Lotto segment, described as a ‘commercial break slot’.

It’s early days for the new TV lottery show. Chances are it will attract a reasonable audience – it is ITV Saturday night primetime after all. Whether it will boost Lotto sales at all, is a very different question. The restructuring of the game in 2017 means that the current jackpot record cannot be broken, so in terms of the national lottery draw as a national TV event, the world has  moved on. The future of lotteries is online.

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