The National Lottery has reported a 6.8% fall in sales for 2013 amid what it called a challenging retail environment.

In its annual report for last year, the National Lottery said its overall sales came to €685.2m, down almost 7% on the €735.1m in 2012.

But it noted that 62% of all adults play National Lottery games on a regular basis.

The company said the fall was due to a lack of significant jackpot rolls on both of the main draw games - the Lotto and EuroMillions - along with a continued difficult retail trading environment.

Lotto related draw games made up 45% of the company's total turnover with sales of €310.4m last year. This included Lotto sales of €229.5m, Lotto Plus sales of €67.9m and Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 sales of €13m.

Scratch card sales continued to increase, rising by 2.5% to €167.7m from €163.5m in 2012. EuroMillion sales fell by over 10% to €117.8m and the National Lottery said the fall was consistent with the overall fall in the game's group sales. 

A total of €205.9m was raised for good causes last year. This brings the overall level of funds raised since the launch of the National Lottery to €4.4 billion.

The company's annual report shows that online sales increased by 30% to €11.2m as the number of registered players increased to 57,000 by the end of the year.

The National Lottery's operating expenses for the year fell by 6.5% to €96.6m from €103.4m in 2012. It noted that the biggest of these expenses was agents' commission fees which at €42.1m represented 6% of total sales.

Premier Lotteries Ireland - a consortium of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, An Post and An Post Pension Funds - was named as the preferred bidder for the new 20 year National Lottery licence after a tender process last October.

The current management team and staff will transfer to the new company.

Dermot Griffin, the National Lottery's chief executive, said that internet and mobile play will be an important part for the future development of the company and will have a strong focus this year.

"Alongside our business development initiatives, we will be transitioning seamlessly to new state of the art technology over the course of 2014 as part of the new National Lottery licence. This technology, along with our extensive plans for  Premier Lotteries Ireland, will ensure the National Lottery will continue to grow and develop, providing substantial funds for good causes over the next 20 years for the benefit of Ireland’s future generations," Mr Griffin added.