Not-for-profit Lotto organisers would be just the ticket – British over 50s say

Thursday 20 November 2014

• Almost one in five Britons over 50 would buy more lottery tickets if it was run by a charity or not-for-profit organisation • More than a quarter would spend more on the lottery if the prize funds for lower numbers were increased • 7% of over 50s put lottery tickets in birthday or Christmas cards.

Not-for-profit Lotto organisers would be just the ticket – British over 50s say

The National Lottery would be more of a ‘draw’ for Britain’s over 50s if it was run by a not-for-profit organisation or charity, according to new research released today. Almost four million*** people say they would buy extra tickets for the nation’s favourite numbers game if this was the case, while 1.6 million*** say they would spend more if more cash went to good causes.

A poll** by over-50s specialist Saga of more than 9,300 over 50s also shows that more than two fifths of Britain’s over 50s regularly enjoy playing the National Lottery – which is 20 years’ old this week – and the average amount they spend each month is nearly £8, or four tickets’ worth.

Interestingly, just 7% of over 50s think buying lottery tickets is the same as a charitable donation – unsurprising given that less than a third of every £1 goes to good causes.

The poll of more than 9,300 over 50s also found:

  • 7% like to put scratchcards and lottery tickets in Christmas and birthday cards as gifts
  • 17%, or 3.7 million over 50s spend more on the draw when it’s a rollover
  • More than a quarter (27%) would spend more if the prize amounts for getting fewer numbers was increased
  • More than a third of Britain’s over 50s buy lottery tickets purely to stand a chance of winning
  • Fewer women over 50 (35%) play the lottery, compared to men (45%).
  • Men spend almost twice as much on lottery tickets as women, £9.50 and £5.63 per month respectively.

Paul Green, Saga’s director of communications, commented: “It’s clear that millions of over 50s regularly enjoy a flutter on the National Lottery. In 20 years this millionaire-maker has become as much a part of British life as tea, neighbourly chat and royal weddings.   

“But a huge number of people would happily shell out more on lottery tickets if this national institution was run by a charity or not-for-profit organisation. This highlights the concern that perhaps making money shouldn’t be the main focus of lottery organisers.

Half the money raised by National Lottery ticket sales goes to the prize fund, 28% goes to good causes, 12% to the government as duty; 5p is paid to National Lottery retailers as commission and 5% is retained by operator Camelot to cover costs and returns to shareholders.**


*Populus interviewed 9,327 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online between XX and XX November 2014. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see

**National Lottery Commission, July 2013

***Figures based on a total over-50s population of 22 million people.

Share this page

Get In Touch

The Saga Group Communications Team only deal with enquiries from the media.

If you're not a journalist, visit our contact us page for a full list of telephone numbers.