What is the lottery?
The lottery is a game of chance where a draw is made to deliver a prize, usually in money or another type of reward. Playing is very simple as all one must do is select a combination of numbers which will be printed as a play slip or ticket. Once the purchase option expires, the draw is carried out where the numbers that will be drawn will be awarded. If your ticket coincides with any or more numbers of the winning combinations, you will win a prize, the amount of which will be determined by the prize table.
As it is clear from the above, the lottery is a game of pure chance where luck is everything. Although there are certain theories in this regard that suggest that it is possible to intervene in your luck, there is no possibility of using strategies or tricks that improve your chances of winning.
In the past, buying a ticket was done physically from a designated store or ticket boot. We would wait till the day of the draw to verify which numbers have been allotted by either watching a show or the news on telly or any other media like the newspaper or radio.
Nowadays, as almost everything else, this can be done online sitting comfortably from your home. The numbers that you want to play are selected, and the tickets are bought online. Draws can be watched on live stream or downloaded on an app where a notification is sent with the winning numbers. This is a real plus to the client experience as unlike when you buy your ticket from a retailer, playing online gives you a number of advantages like, for example, your purchased ticket is saved in your account and can’t be stolen or lost and you can select to purchase recurring tickets and other options.
The best-known lotteries in the UK
There are many different lotteries in the United Kingdom. We picked the most famous to talk about in short. But before we begin, here are some step notes to know before playing.
The method of playing is, for the most part, the same for each lottery unless otherwise stated.
You can pick the numbers by selecting them yourself, or you can opt to use a number generator (DRBG) to create a random line also known as a Lucky Dip ticket.
Choose how many lines you wish to purchase. There is a minimum and maximum number of lines you can purchase on a play slip (ticket) at one time.
There is an expiry time and date to purchase your ticket and participate in the final draw.
Note that with the new updated law in the UK, all players must be 18+ to take part in all lotteries (including Scratch & Win cards).
Lotto (National Lottery)
Originally known as the National Lottery and was rebranded with the name Lotto in 2002 run by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. It is the most famous lottery game played by thousands every week since 1994 and is the oldest lottery in the UK. It awarded millions in prizes, and it has raised money for good causes all through the country.
The draw takes place every Wednesday at 8.30pm and Saturday at 7.45pm. The jackpot is won by six matching numbers from 1 to 59 but prizes are won with two or more numbers and there is also the possibility of a Bonus Ball which is the seventh number drawn. The prizes for the jackpot are shared between all other players who matched six numbers. However, all the other prizes are fixed amounts meaning each player wins the prize stated. Up to seven lines can be purchased on a single play slip. Here are the prizes per combination:
- Cost of £2 per line
- 6 numbers = Jackpot
- 5 numbers plus Bonus Ball* = £1 million pounds
- 5 numbers = £1,750
- 4 numbers = £140
- 3 numbers = £30
- 2 numbers = Free lucky Dip Ticket
Bonus Ball: this is the 7th number also drawn and is not included on your ticket. It is used as an extra chance to match 5 or 6 main numbers to your ticket (E.g. 1-2-3-4-5-6 are the numbers on your ticket but the drawn numbers being 1-2-3-4-5-7 with 5 numbers matching your ticket. If the Bonus Ball number turns out to be a 6, you can consequently match your ticket).
Lotto HotPicks (from Lotto Draw)
This uses the same winning numbers from the Lotto draw but is not part of the main lotto draw. You will need to purchase a separate ticket (£1). The difference is that it allows you to choose how many numbers you want to try and match. Here it is important that you match them all to your ticket to win a prize. If you buy a 2 number ticket and only 1 number is drawn, you will not win. You can choose to match from one up to all the five numbers with prices ranging from £6 to £350,000.
EuroMillions is a lottery in which several European countries participate. There are currently nine participants: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, France and Portugal.
The draw is held every Tuesday and Friday at 20:00GMT (21:00 CET) and is held in Paris. If no one wins the pot it accumulates for the next draw.
EuroMillions is played by picking five numbers between 1 – 50 and choosing two Lucky Stars numbers from 1 – 12. You can participate in the Tuesday or Friday draw (or both days) and can purchase your ticket/s from four weeks in advance. On a single play slip, you have a choice to purchase up to seven lines. Here are the prizes per combination:
- Cost of £2.50 per line
- 5 numbers plus 2 Lucky Stars numbers = €17 to €220 million*
- 5 numbers plus 1 Lucky Stars number = £302,100.76
- 5 numbers = £46,202.68
- 4 numbers plus 2 Lucky Stars numbers = £2,674.84
- 4 numbers plus 1 Lucky Stars number = £127.73
- 3 numbers plus 2 Lucky Stars numbers = £52.72
- 4 numbers = £56.09
- 2 numbers plus 2 Lucky Stars numbers = £13.06
- 3 numbers plus 1 Lucky Stars number = £9.64
- 3 numbers = £8.01
- 1 number plus 2 Lucky Stars numbers = £6.90
- 2 numbers plus 1 Lucky Stars number = £5.23
- 2 numbers = £2.79
*This is the Euro amount in available prizes. The rest is an average amount.
This ticket is automatically included when you enter the EuroMillions lottery. There is an automatic random code issued next to every combination of EuroMillions you purchase and it is all included in the cost of a ticket therefore, you don’t need to pay anything extra. This code consists of a letter and five numbers. A winning Millionaire Maker code is drawn alongside each main EuroMillions draw. So check the code on your ticket and if it matches the winning code exactly, you win. This draw is announced after the EuroMillions lottery.
Not only does the game guarantee at least £1 million prizes in every draw but more will be given out on special occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s and other special days announced.
EuroMillions HotPicks (from EuroMillions draw)
This works in the same way as the Lotto Hotpicks ticket does. It is a separate game but uses the same draw as the EuroMillions draw. You can choose to match tickets (£1.50) between 1 number to 5 numbers and the numbers to choose from are between 1 – 50.
Before 2018, Thunderball was only drawn once a week but with the recent changes in the National Lottery, it is now drawn four times a week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm with nine prize tiers in every draw. Prizes are not shared in this lottery meaning that if you match your five numbers on your ticket, half a million pounds are yours! Like with all lotteries, playing is easy. You just need to pick five main numbers from 1 – 39 with one Thunderball number from 1 – 14. You may choose to play up to seven lines and buy a maximum of ten play slips at a time just once. Below are the prizes per number combination.
- Cost of £1 per line
- 5 numbers plus Thunderball = £500,000
- 5 numbers = £5,000
- 4 numbers plus Thunderball = £250
- 4 numbers = £100
- 3 numbers plus Thunderball = £20
- 3 numbers = £10
- 2 numbers plus Thunderball = £10
- 1 number plus Thunderball = £5
- Thunderball only = £3
Special National Lottery Draws
As mentioned previously, the National Lottery also offers draws on yearly special days. There are big prizes to be won for each one so it is good to keep them in mind if you would like to play.
- Christmas Lottery: £1.50 per line, on the 25th December with a jackpot prize of £13.5 million.
- Valentine’s Lottery: £1.50 per line, on the 14th February with a jackpot prize of £13.3 million.
- St Patrick’s Lottery: £1.50 per line, on the 17th February with a jackpot prize of £13.3 million.
- Easter Lotto: £1.50 per line, on Easter Sunday with a jackpot prize of £13.3 million.
People’s Postcode Lottery
This is another famous lottery and as the name suggests, the winning number must be your exact postcode. Furthermore, as with many other lotteries nonetheless, it is a charity lottery for residents in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a subscription lottery licensed under the UK Gambling Commission but does not form part of the National Lottery.
A player must first sign up to subscribe with a monthly fee to win prizes everyday. This is done online or by phone and players can choose between signing up for one to three tickets per month. Each ticket costs £10 per month and all draws can be won with each ticket. Prizes can vary from a dream holiday to lush cars or simply cash. It is good to note that a postcode can only be allotted if at least one person subscribes to it. The following are the different draws and their respective prizes.
Daily: twenty postcodes are drawn every day. £1,000 is given to each ticket in the selected daily draw and if a player has more than one subscription, £1,000 is given to each ticket.
Street: every weekend (Saturday and Sunday), each ticket in one postcode drawn wins £30,000. If two tickets were played then the winner receives £60,000 and if three were played, then £90,000! Also, thousands of tickets win prizes of £15 and £10.
Postcode Millions: A £3 million prize pot is to be shared in one postcode sector each month. This draw has an exception to the other two draws where the winning code can be a partial match. Therefore, the amount each player wins varies based on the match and how many tickets were played.
You will discover that there are plenty more lotteries to choose from and some of them are also free of charge so you are sure to find a lottery or lotteries that will certainly suit you the best.
As always, we advise you to play wisely and responsibly. Be sure to play on legal and authorized platforms that offer you all the necessary guarantees. And above all, play for fun and have a good time.
Is the online lottery different from the physical lottery?
It is exactly the same game. When you play online you participate in the same draw as when you buy a physical ticket, under the same conditions and with the same prizes.
What happens when there is no winner in a draw?
In these cases, the pot is accumulated for the next draw and consequently, if there still is no winner in the other draw, it will continue to accumulate successively until there is a winner.
Is it advisable to play in draws with big jackpots?
As we have already mentioned before, there are no valid strategies for the lottery as it is a game of pure chance. What you have to keep in mind is that the bigger the pot grows and the more participants take part in the draw, then the more of a competition it is to win a prize.
Are lotteries the same in all countries?
No, each country has its own lotteries and game systems but today you can participate in nearly any lottery in other countries online.
Does a prize winning ticket expire?
Yes, if you have a winning ticket, you must be vigilant and claim it within the deadlines that each draw establishes.