UK National Lottery
The UK National Lottery was launched in 1994 and is operated by the Camelot Group. It features three draw-based games: Lotto, Thunderball and Euro Millions. Other products sold under the National Lottery brand include scratch-cards, raffles and online instant games.
Lotteries were originally deemed illegal in the UK unless expressly authorised by statute, as per the Suppression of Lotteries Act 1698. However, these laws were relaxed to a certain extent with the Betting and Lotteries Act 1934 and the Lotteries Act 1975. These statutes permitted the creation of smaller, private draw-based games which led to the eventual creation of the UK’s first national lottery.
This finally happened in 1993 when the UK Government established the National Lottery. An operating license was issued to Camelot one year later with the first draw taking place on Saturday, November 19, 1994 – it generated seven winners who shared a prize of £5,874,778. Two years later the first scratch-cards went on sale and in 1997, a mid-week draw was introduced.
While the National Lottery enjoyed considerable success in its early years with high participation rates, sales began to tail off towards the end of the 1990s. This prompted Camelot to embark on an £82 million rebranding program in 2002 – the main game was renamed Lotto and the famous cross-fingers logo was modified. All supplementary games were also integrated under the Lotto brand. This set-up has remained relatively unaltered ever since.
National Lottery Games
The UK National lottery features four draw-based games:
- Lotto (6/59) – Odds of Winning Jackpot: 1 in 45,057,474
- Lotto Hot Picks (5/59) – Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 5,006,386
- Thunderball (5/39 + 1/14) – Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 8,060,598
- Euro Millions (5/50 + 2/12) – Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 139,838,160
Originally known as the National Lottery, the Lotto, as it’s now known, is the most popular draw-based game in the UK. It follows a 6/59 matrix (originally 6/49) where six balls are drawn from a pool of 59. An additional ‘bonus ball’ is also drawn which applies to a maximum of five matched numbers. Players purchasing tickets either choose six numbers between 1 and 59 or a lucky dip in which the numbers are generated randomly. The ticket price is currently £2 per game board.
The UK Lotto ticket features 7 game boards labelled A – G. Each one comprises 59 numbered check boxes and an option to choose a lucky dip. At the top of each ticket are further options for players to select which draw they want to play and the amount of consecutive weeks (up to 8) they’d like to use the same numbers.
How to be a Lotto Winner
A minimum of three numbers needs to be matched to receive a prize. This increases according to the amount of numbers a player successfully predicts. Those who correctly pick four, five or six balls share in the prize awarded for that amount of correctly matched numbers. Players lucky enough to defy odds of 1 in 45,057,474 and match all six, win equal shares in a jackpot. If nobody manages this, the jackpot money is added to the next Lotto draw and is known as a Rollover.
The Rollover used to be limited to three consecutive draws before being increased to four in 2011. If, after a quadruple rollover, nobody had managed to successfully predict all six numbers, the jackpot was shared between the players who matched 5 numbers and bonus ball. However, after further modifications to the game in 2015, the rollover is now uncapped with a jackpot ceiling of £50,000,000 put in place instead.
- Biggest UK Lotto Win – £31.5 million
- Draw Days –Wednesday, Saturday
Lotto Prize Breakdown (Estimated)
- 6 correct numbers – Jackpot
- 5 correct numbers with Bonus Ball – £50,000
- 5 correct numbers – £1000
- 4 correct numbers – £100
- 3 correct numbers – £25
- 2 correct numbers – Free Lotto Lucky Dip
- 1 correct number – Lotto Millionaire Raffle (Guaranteed 1 x £1,000.000 and 20 x £20,000)
Lotto Hot Picks Format
Lotto Hot Picks is a supplementary game which uses Lotto numbers. The only difference with the main game being that players are required to pick both the numbers as well as the amount of balls they want to try to match. A maximum of five numbers, from 1 to 59, can be chosen with participants able to play up to five lines of numbers on each ticket/play slip. Currently, the game costs £1 per line and can be played both online and with a play slip.
Lotto Hot Picks Ticket
Lotto Hot Picks tickets comprise three game boards with check boxes numbered from 1 to 59. At the top of each board are 5 selection boxes for players to pick the amount of balls they want to try and match. As with the Lotto game slip, players are able to choose which draw they want to play (Saturday, Wednesday or both) as well as the number of consecutive draws they’d like to stake their numbers on.
How to be a Lotto Hot Picks Winner
Players can choose to match just one number from the main Lotto draw and will receive a prize of £6 should they be successful. This increases according to the amount of numbers they match with a £350,000 prize awarded to players who are able to correctly predict five numbers. If a player fails to match their chosen amount of numbers, they win nothing.
- Biggest Lotto Hot Picks Win – £350,000
- Draw Days – Daily (8am to 11pm)
Lotto Hot Picks Prize Breakdown
- Pick 5 numbers, match 5 numbers – £350,000
- Pick 4 numbers, match 4 numbers – £13,000
- Pick 3 numbers, match 3 numbers – £800
- Pick 2 numbers, match 2 numbers – £60
- Pick 1 number, match 1 number – £6
Thunderball features a 5/39 + 1/14 structure – five balls are drawn from a pool of 39 and another ball from a smaller pool of 14. To win the jackpot, players therefore need to correctly match 5 numbers as well as the additional Thunderball. The odds of winning the jackpot stand at 1 in 8,060,598 with players able to choose up to 7 lines per ticket/pay slip.
The Thunderball ticket has six game boards with 39 check boxes for selection of the main numbers and another 14 boxes for choosing the Thunderball. Once again, players are able to choose which draw they want to play and the number of consecutive weeks they want to use their numbers for.
How to be a Thunderball Winner
It is possible to win a prize by matching only the Thunderball number. Prizes increase according to the amount of matched numbers and range from £3 to £500,000. For each prize tier, the numbers can be drawn in any order.
- Biggest Thunderball Win – £500,000
- Draw Days –Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
Thunderball Prize Breakdown
- 5 correct numbers with Thunderball – £500,000
- 5 correct numbers – £5000
- 4 correct numbers with Thunderball – £250
- 4 correct numbers – £100
- 3 correct numbers with Thunderball – £20
- 3 correct numbers – £10
- 2 correct numbers with Thunderball – £10
- 1 correct number with Thunderball – £5
- Thunderball – £3
Euro Millions is a pan-European game launched in 2004 by Camelot, Française des Jeux and Spain’s Loterías y Apuestas del Estado. The UK, France and Spain were the only participants until the game was later expanded to include Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland. EuroMillions follows a 5/50 + 2/12 structure where five balls are drawn from a pool of 50 and another two from a smaller pot of 12 (originally 11). The jackpot has a ceiling of £163 million. If nobody wins, the additional money in the jackpot prize fund rolls down to the next highest prize tier where there are winners.
EuroMillions Lottery Ticket
EuroMillions lottery tickets consist of four game boards labelled A – E with 50 check boxes – each one costs £2.50 per play. Next to these are the ‘lucky stars’ panels which contain 12 selection boxes. As with the other National Lottery play-slips, participants can choose the amount of consecutive weeks they want to play their numbers as well the draw they want to enter.
How to be a EuroMillions Winner
To win the EuroMillions jackpot, players need to match the five main numbers as well as two ‘lucky stars’ in any order. Each ticket is also printed with 4 letters and 5 numbers. If these match the letters and numbers drawn in the UK Millionaire Maker game, the ticket-holder wins £1,000.000.
- Biggest EuroMillions Win – £161,653,000
- Draw Days – Tuesday, Friday
EuroMillions Prize Breakdown (Estimated)
- 5 correct numbers with 2 Lucky Stars – Jackpot
- 5 correct numbers with 1 Lucky Star – £227,848,80
- 5 correct numbers – £23,586,00
- 4 correct numbers with 2 Lucky Stars – £2,307.30
- 4 correct numbers with 1 Lucky Star – £123.00
- 4 correct numbers – £43.30
- 3 correct numbers with 2 Lucky Stars – £78.00
- 3 correct numbers with 1 Lucky Star – £10.70
- 3 correct numbers – £9.00
- 2 correct numbers with 2 Lucky Stars – £14.20
- 2 correct numbers with 1 Lucky Star – £6.00
- 2 correct numbers – £3.30
- 1 correct numbers with 2 Lucky Stars – £7.60