For every £1 spent on UK National Lottery games, 28p is given to the Good Causes Fund to help support worthy projects across the UK. The pool is split into four different areas, with 40 percent used for schemes related to health, education, environment and charitable causes, 20 percent ringfenced for the arts, 20 percent spent on heritage and 20 percent made available for the development of sport. Every year, £80 million is contributed to Olympic and Paralympic sports, and 633 medals have been won by athletes who benefited from lottery funding.
The decision to fund elite sports from proceeds of lottery games was taken after a humiliating performance for Great Britain in the 1996 games in Atlanta. The team brought back just one gold medal from the US and only 15 of any colour in total. Since then, the medal hauls have increased dramatically, peaking in 2012 in London when the hosts pocketed a mighty 65 medals, including 29 golds. National Lottery players provided £2.2 billion in total to help stage the hugely successful London Olympics, which went on building the necessary infrastructure as well as supporting athletes.
Without the benefit of the home crowd this time around, Team GB’s 19 golds and 51 medals in total (at the time of writing) is being hailed as a fantastic achievement, and those in the know are well aware of who to thank. Sir Chris Hoy told lottery fans, “The National Lottery has transformed the way sport is funded in the UK. Thanks to you doing your bit, athletes have a chance to train and compete on a level playing field with other nations around the world and it’s made a huge difference to the success of the British team."
Sir Dave Brailsford, former performance director of British Cycling, added, “little of what we have achieved at British Cycling would have been possible without the help of the lottery-playing public. The British cyclists who have won medals over the past 14 years have earned their success with hard work, dedication and some heartache. But all of them have been supported by lottery funding.” Extraordinarily, every member of the British track cycling team at Rio will board the plane home with at least one medal at the end of the Olympics.
The National Lottery will celebrate the Olympic success story with a special UK Lotto draw on Saturday 27th August, when there will be multiple Lotto Millionaire Raffle prizes on offer. In addition to the usual single prize of £1 million and 20 of £20,000, there will be an award of £50,000 given away for every bronze medal won by Team GB, a £100,000 payout for every silver and £1 million for every gold. You can buy Lotto tickets online or from authorised retailers across the UK.