The National Health Lottery
The Health Lottery – also known as National Health Lottery – is an independent lottery from Great Britain that was launched in October 2011. Its main goal is to help raise money for different good causes that are primarily health-related. The history of The Health Lottery dates back to the origins of the National Health Service Lottery, a lottery founded in 1988, but being declared illegal shortly after. The Altala Group Ltd. purchased all assets of the National Health Service Lottery in 2007 and gained its gambling license in 2009. Prior to its launch in November 2011, the lottery was sold to the Northern & Shell group that also operates the Channel 5 broadcasting station in Great Britain.
Contrary to many other lotteries – for example the National Lottery – it includes 51 independent regional lotteries from England, Wales and Scotland. They operate as a Community Interest Company and are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Each CIC represents at least one area in Great Britain and they take turns in participating in the weekly draw. In so doing it is secured that every local authority in Great Britain benefits from the lottery. About 20 percent of the costs of a lottery ticket are donated to charity, the exact allocation of the funds are determined by the respective CICs. The lottery is often criticized for only donating 20p per lottery ticket to good causes, while the National Lottery and EuroMillions for example are donating about 28%. The way the lottery advertised in some daily newspapers has also been a reason for complaints for some time, but the Advertising Standard Authority clearly stated that this issue is not inside their area of responsibility.
To buy a ticket of the National Health Lottery, players in Great Britain must be at least 16 years old. Players from other countries are able to play the lottery on the internet, for example via the official website, www.healthlottery.co.uk. There are many other providers, but it is advisable to search for any kind of a seal of approval before picking your numbers and paying the fee. It is the only way to prevent fraudsters from stealing your money. Fraudsters posing as The Health Lottery or any other lottery are periodically sending scam mails. But there are a lot of signs that help you recognize a scam. First of all, you cannot win a lottery if you have not entered it. As a legitimate lottery, The Health Lottery will never ask its customers to pay taxes, service fees or any other kind of additional money. The necessity of transferring money prior to receiving it is also a clear sign of a scam.
How is this lottery played
The Health Lottery can be both played offline and online with the second option being the only possibility for foreigners to play. It is also the safest because there is no risk to lose the ticket. Every person over the age of 16 is allowed to buy a lottery ticket. Whether the lottery is played online or offline you have to select five main numbers from 1 to 50 and an additional bonus ball number. You can either pick your numbers by hand or let them be selected by a machine randomly. This is called the “Quick Pick”. The bonus ball together with a new prize structure was introduced with the draw on 11 May 2013. Since then you can win prizes with the bonus ball and two, three or four matching main balls. There is no prize for five matching main balls and the additional bonus ball.
The prize structure
The chances to win any prize at all with The Healthlottery are 1 in 13.94. Additional promotional prizes are sometimes rewarded for two matching main numbers; generally you are simply rewarded with a free lottery ticket for the next draw. With the exception of the top prize, each winner receives the amount of money displayed in the chart below. Top prizes are always split amongst all winners. As of 11 May 2013 the new prize structure is:
- PrizeRequired numbersOdds of winning
- £100,0005 main numbers1 in 2,118,760
- £10,0004 main numbers and bonus ball1 in 423,752
- £2504 main numbers1 in 9,631
- £503 main numbers and bonus ball1 in 4,815
- £203 main numbers1 in 224
- £102 main numbers and bonus ball1 in 224
Costs of a lottery ticket
Each line on a lottery ticket costs £1 per draw. You can buy several lines at once, for example up to 40 if you choose to play over the official website of the lottery. You can also determine the duration of your lottery ticket and whether it is valid for only the draw on Wednesday, the draw on Saturday or both. 22% of the costs of one lottery ticket is withhold as a service fee, 20,3% of the costs are donated to good causes. The remaining 55,7% are disbursed between the winners.
If you play The Health Lottery online and win one of the lower three prizes, the money is automatically transferred to your bank account. You have to formally claim your prize if you win £250 or more by calling the service hotline displayed on the back of the lottery ticket. Same goes for tickets bought from a retailer, with the difference that you can directly claim the prizes of the lower three categories. After the draw players have 180 days to claim their prizes. Online retailers regularly send emails to inform whether you won or not.
The National Health Lottery Jackpot
There are two different jackpots for the drawings on Saturday and Wednesday. The top prize for Saturday is always £100,000 and was rewarded to each player matching five numbers until the beginning of 2014. Since then, the top prize is equally distributed amongst these players.
Wednesday’s top prize is much lower and never higher than 10% of the revenue of the tickets sold for the draw. Similar to The Healthlottery’s Saturday top prize, it is also distributed amongst all players with five matching numbers.
The Health Lottery UK draws
The first draw of the health lottery was broadcast live on 8 October 2011 during a break of the show “The X-Factor” on the ITV network. The draws are nowadays broadcast exclusively on Channel 5. In the beginning, draws were only held on Saturday. Since 17 October 2012 there is an additional draw every Wednesday, called “Win Wednesday”. It was introduced to celebrate the first birthday of the lottery and became a weekly instance. Draws are held between 8.00pm and 8.30pm but are broadcast not before approximately 9.55pm. The TV shows feature short clips to show the viewers were the raised money is spend.
The draws are held in the studios of Channel 5 under survey of official supervisors. Initially, the five main numbers are drawn from a pool of 50 numbers, after it the bonus ball out of the remaining 45 numbers. While there are six numbers to be drawn, you only need to match five to win the top prize of £100,000. Due to the fact that the TV show is not broadcast live lottery tickets have to be purchased not later than 7.59pm. Lottery tickets purchased later will automatically take place in the next draw.
Every resident of Great Britain over the age of 16 is allowed to buy a ticket from a retailer. Inhabitants of the Isle of Men and Northern Ireland are therefore excluded from The National Health Lottery.
Comparison to the Postcode Lottery
While both lotteries can be played in all areas of England, Scotland and Wales, there are some major differences between the two lotteries of Great Britain. First of all, 22,5% of the costs of a lottery ticket (£2 each, therefore 45p) go to good causes. The People’s Postcode Lottery is postcode-based which means that you don’t actively pick numbers as you do with purchasing a ticket of The Health Lottery. To play the People’s Postcode Lottery you have to sign up online or over the freephone number in advance and pay directly via PayPal, direct debit, debit card or credit card. Your postcode is your lottery ticket. The more tickets you buy, the more you will win if your postcode is drawn. You get a guaranteed prize for each ticket you play with the Street Prizes and the Daily Prizes and a share of the prize money in case you are in the winning or a neighboring postcode in the Postcode Millions Draw.
From Monday to Friday you can win £1,000 per ticket in the postcode. Every winning ticket is rewarded with £25,000 on Saturday, winning tickets in 5,000 postcodes receive £10 on Sunday. Eight times a year you have the chance to share a jackpot of £2 million in the Postcode Million draw with all the other players in the respective postcode and three times a year the chance to share a jackpot of £3.2 million in the European Postcode Million draws. Monthly prizes of the Peoples Postcode Lottery are:
- £100,000 for the winning postcode
- Key to a brand new BMW for one ticket
- £4,000 holiday by Thomas Cook and £1,000 to spend for three lucky winners
Participating in the People’s Postcode Lottery will cost you only £10 each month which is slightly higher than buying a single ticket for £1 for every draw (Wednesday and Saturday) of the Health Lottery. The currently existing 121 postcode areas of the UK are divided into an average of 20 postcode districts and additional postcode towns with each one automatically participating in the People’s Postcode Lottery. With your subscription you have the daily chance to win cash prizes while the chances to win anything at all with The Health Lottery are about 1 in 14. A single People’s Postcode Lottery ticket can win the maximum amount of £400,000, the maximum jackpot of The Health Lottery is £100,000.
The Postcode Lottery is interesting for all players who want a daily chance of winning money and the chance to win high jackpots on a regular basis. On the contrary, the chances of winning anything at all are higher with The Health Lottery and the amount of people you have to share your prize is supposedly lower.