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Making sure the National Lottery operates effectively and that funding for good causes is distributed properly


Through the National Lottery, the public provides billions of pounds of funding for good causes in the arts, sport, heritage and the voluntary and community sectors. But it needs to be governed and run fairly, and we need to decide how the money is distributed, and record and publicise how it is distributed.


We work to ensure the National Lottery operates effectively by:

The government’s arm’s length bodies, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the British Film Institute, UK Sport and Sport England, Arts Council England and the Big Lottery Fund, decide which projects receive National Lottery funding and also distribute the funds. Ministers are not involved in decisions about which projects to fund with National Lottery money.


We set up the National Lottery in 1993, and the first National Lottery draw was held in 1994. Since then, it has generated over £98 billion in ticket sales to the end of October 2013, with over £30 billion raised for good causes.

Over 426,000 projects had been given grants by November 2013, ranging from large projects like London 2012 to smaller projects like playgrounds, community arts and literature projects.

National Lottery good causes

In November 2010, following public consultation, we increased the share of lottery funding that is given to the arts, heritage and sport back to their original levels of 20% each, and reduced the Big Lottery Fund share which goes to voluntary and community projects to 40%.

Who we’ve consulted

National Lottery consultations

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