The £16bn in National Lottery funding given to good causes over the past 10 years has been a "catalyst for regeneration", a report has said.
For every £1 spent, 28p goes to good causes
The Henley Report into the impact of the Lottery in its first decade, pointed to the success of supported schemes such as the Eden Project.
It said they had provided a "positive impact" in "kick-starting" investment in their local economies.
The report said there was no evidence the lottery had hit charity donations.
Instead it said that UK charities have benefited from at least £3bn of awards.
"Lottery funding has been a major catalyst for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of regeneration investment, of which Newcastle-Gateshead and Manchester-Salford are good examples," said the report, which was commissioned by lottery operator Camelot.
NATIONAL LOTTERY FACTS
Some 70% of adult Britons regularly play
It has created 1,700 millionaires
Three people win a prize almost every second
The most frequently drawn ball is number 38, drawn 165 times
The unluckiest ball is number 13, drawn 105 times
Around 10,000 people play 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 every week
Source: PA News
It added that "the Eden Project in Cornwall and Tate Modern in Southwark are good examples of the significant impact larger capital awards can have on the local economy".
The number of grants awarded by the Lottery rose from 4,177 in 1995 to 27,483 in 2003, with the average size of those awards falling by three-quarters.
But the research also found an increasing amount of cash was being set aside for health and education projects.
The report follows former Prime Minister John Major's claim last week that the Labour administration was guilty of "grand larceny" and had used lottery cash to fund core government responsibilities.
The report, published ahead of the 10th anniversary of the National Lottery on 4 November, also revealed London received a disproportionately high level of grants.
But fears the lottery would encourage gambling, reduce donations to charity, and tax the poor to fund the pleasures of the rich were unfounded, it concluded.
The claim that the lottery has not encouraged more gambling was, however, disputed by Luke FitzHerbert, of the charity Directory of Social Change.
"The National Lottery hasn't yet led to a massive increase in gambling, but it is only a matter of time," he said.
"The promotion of gambling is proven in country after country to lead to social ills which develop over time, and we see no reason why UK will be immune."
For every £1 spent on a Lotto ticket, 28p is set aside for investment in the arts, heritage, sport, charities, and a category embracing education, health and the environment.
Until 2006, money also goes to the Millennium Commission, which has supported the Eden Project and the much-criticised Millennium Dome at Greenwich.