The National Lottery

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The UK National Lottery is a lottery system operated by the private, state-franchised company Camelot. Camelot is also the lottery operator of the State of Isle of Man, which is politically associated to the UK. The company has been stateaccredited since 25 May 1994. The first draw was held on 19 November 1994.

Although the uncontested flagship game is Lotto, the lottery operator offers lots of other classic lottery draw games to play such as EuroMillions, Lott HotPicks and Thunderball. You can play either via the network of retailers, or online, sitting in front of your computer. On the National Lottery website you can also play online games such as Bingo, Scrabble and Monopoly.

On average, 45 % of the ticket sales flow into the prize pool, the majority of which, i.e. at least 66.4 %, goes to those few players who pick all six numbers, i.e. the jackpot winners. 5.3 % of the prize pool is destined for the winners of the second highest prize tier, i.e. 5 main numbers plus Bonus number. 4.5 % of the fund is intended for the 3rd prize tier, i.e. 5 main numbers. 23.8 % of the prize money is destined for the owners of tickets with 4 winning numbers. Should there be no winning entries in a prize tier, the money available for the respective prize tier is allocated to the next lower prize category.

In the national lottery you can become a big winnerThe Lotto Raffle fund ranges, depending on the number of rollovers, from 50*£ 20,000 = £ 1,000,000 (no rollover) to 250*£ 20,000 = £ 5,000,000 (4 rollovers with additional 50 winners each).

The other part of the money from the ticket sales is destined for good causes such as nature conservation measures or goes to healthcare institutions or charity organizations. A total of 28 % of the revenues is spent on projects deemed beneficial to society, 12 % of the sales is to be paid to the government as lottery tax, and around 5 % is to be paid to the retailers as a commission. Thus, by participating in the national lottery and other games offered by Camelot, players contribute actively to the public good.

The distribution of money to good causes is not the responsibility of the operator (Camelot). It is incumbent upon The National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF), administered by the government Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Currently 54% (of 28 % of the revenues) is given to arts, sports and heritage via government agencies and the remaining 46% is given to charitable, health, education and environment causes by the Big Lottery Fund. The Heritage Lottery Fund, established by the government in 1994, is intended to provide money for “projects involving the local, regional and national heritage”. The fund is fed with the money raised by the National Lottery’s “good causes”. Since 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund has provided more than 26,000 projects with a total of £ 4 billion.

The national lottery has recently undergone some significant changes, so far as price money and jackpots are concerned. New regulations have been valid since 5 October 2013, which is when the first “new lotto” draw took place. According to the new regulations in place, jackpots can reach up until £ 5 m on the average (compared to £ 3.9 m before). The winner of the second highest prize category (5 matches plus bonus number) is entitled to £ 50,000 on the average. Tickets matching 3, 4 and 5 numbers are worth £ 25, £ 100 and £ 1,000, respectively.

The rules have changed because consumer research had shown that players wanted higher cash prizes and more ways to win on Lotto. Thus, by paving the way for higher jackpots (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) and higher prizes as well as by fixing the raffle at £ 20,000 – while the amount had previously not been guaranteed – the customers’ wishes have been fulfilled. However, it has to be noted that there is no minimum jackpot, but only a higher expected jackpot. This is a result of ticket prices having been increased from £ 1 to £ 2 according to the new rules.

Principle of the game

It is fairly easy to become a millionaire by playing lotto; if you play via internet, sitting in front of your computer, you do not even have to leave the house to try your luck. By clicking the mouse you select 6 unique numbers that range from 1 to 49. In order to play online, there is nothing more to do than to open an account. On the play slip you must indicate which draw you want to play (Wednesday, Saturday or both) and for how many weeks you want to play. The numbers you choose must be tabbed in the boxes on your online play slip. If you choose the option “Lucky Dip”, the numbers will be generated automatically. You can buy at most 5 pay slips, each of which consists of 7 lines, that is to say you can fill in up to 35 lines of numbers. Each line costs £ 2, multiplied by the number of drawings.

Altogether, there are 6 prize tiers: 6 matches (jackpot), 5 matches plus Bonus Ball, 5 matches without Bonus Ball, 4 matches, 3 matches and raffle. The lotto raffle provides that with every line purchased, an additional raffle number will be automatically generated. These are only valid, as long as are the corresponding lotto lines, i.e. depending on how many draws you have selected on the play slip; so you will only be allocated a new raffle number in case you buy an new lotto ticket. At a normal draw, 50 winners by raffle numbers will be selected by an automatic draw machine. In case of a rollover, i.e. if the previous jackpot has not been won, this sum will be added by a further 50 numbers in the next draw. As a quadruple rollover is the maximum rollover possible, there is a maximum of 250 winning raffle numbers. Each of the winning raffle numbers are worth exactly £ 20,000.

The odds of winning

The odds of winning any Lotto Prize are approximately 1 in 54. The value of the cash prizes except for the raffle depends upon the ticket sales and the number of winning tickets.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 13,983,816. The odds of winning the second highest prize category, i.e. a match of 5 main numbers plus the Bonus number is equivalent to 1 in 2,330,636. The odds of matching five numbers only are 1 in 55,492. Your chance to match 4 main numbers is 1 in 1032 and 1 in 57 tickets matches 3 numbers only. The odds of winning a Lotto raffle Prize only vary according to the number of Lotto raffle entries in each Lotto raffle Draw. For example, on Wednesdays with expected sales of 9 million Lotto entries your chance to be a raffle winner is 1 in 180,000, whereas on Saturdays with expected sales of 16 million Lotto entries your chance to win £ 20,000 is 1 in 320,000.

The biggest jackpots

The players who have 6 winning numbers on their tickets are entitled to the jackpot; should there be more than 1 player with 6 matches, the jackpot is equally divided between all of them. If no one wins the jackpot, there will be an accumulated jackpot in the next draw, a socalled rollover. The rules allow for this to happen only 4 times consecutively. This means that if the jackpot is not won in a quadruple rollover, the sum in the jackpot is divided between the players of the immediately inferior prize tier, i.e. between the players whose tickets match 5 numbers plus the Bonus Ball. The average jackpot money prizes are in the neighbourhood of £ 5 m and £ 2.5 m on Saturday and on Wednesday, respectively.

The Draw

There are 2 draws a week, on Wednesday and on Saturday. In the lotto draw, 6 unique numbers are drawn, including one bonus number, which is only relevant to the second highest prize tier, i.e. to players with exactly 5 matches. You are eligible for a cash prize, provided that you have at least 3 matching numbers on your ticket.

For reasons of randomization, the draws are conducted by means of special draw machines and different ball sets. In the draw, six balls are selected randomly out of 49 uniquely numbered balls. The balls are drawn one after the other, with the balls, once selected, not being returned to the pot. Subsequently, the bonus number is drawn.

The raffle numbers are selected separately, likewise by means of an automated draw machine, selecting 50 valid numbers during a normal draw. The raffle prize, fixed at £ 20,000, is guaranteed, because all valid game entries are allocated in the system. Traditionally, for a raffle, all the tickets for the draw are loaded into a “hat” and the winning tickets are randomly picked out. Given all the millions of tickets entered into each Lotto draw, this method is too impractical an approach, which is why an automated draw machine (ADM) comes into play. An ADM operates fast and is absolutely reliable. The ADM produces the winning entries entirely at random; accordingly each individual Lotto raffle number has a separate and equal chance of winning a prize, notwithstanding when, where and how it has been purchased; thus the draw is guaranteed to be completely random.

The Camelot gaming system allocates each valid Lotto game entry, including Lotto raffle, a number, according to the order in which it was bought, so each valid ticket correlates with a specified number. In the draw, the ADM selects the amount of winning entries required (50 to 250), whereupon the specified numbers are drawn.

The results of the draw are available to be checked on teletext, on the internet or via the national lottery smartphone app.

Rules and conditions of participation

Unlike many other online lotteries, this lottery system requires players to be physically located in the UK or in the Isle of Man, when purchasing their ticket. Players are furthermore required to be 16 years or older and to have a UK bank account, which is needed for payment via debit card or via direct debit.

Money prizes have to be claimed within a deadline of 180 days. If not claimed within the deadline, the money goes to a national fund, administered by the government, in order to raise money for good causes.

The money won in the national lottery does not have be declared for the purposes of UK Capital Gains Tax nor UK Income Tax. However, it must be noted that tax laws are subject to change; therefore it is advisable for players to keep themselves uptodate about the current law. Generally, it is recommended that winners of high cash prizes solicit financial advice.

The ticket purchaser for a syndicate, typically its manager, must meet the eligibility criteria for ticket purchase, i.e. must be resident of the UK or Isle of Man and must be present in the respective territory at the moment of buying the ticket. Syndicate members must fulfil the same age criteria as single players, i.e. they must be at least 16 years. Since lottery tickets are not transferable, commercial syndicates are not permitted.

If you are a registered online player and have bought your ticket online, you will be sent a prize notification via email, informing you about your win. In this email you will also be informed as to what steps to take in order to claim your prize. Prizes up to, and including, £ 5,000 will be automatically credited to your account, and upon signing in, you will be prompted to transfer any prizes over £ 500 and up to £ 5,000 to your debit card in order for the money to be credited to your bank account. For cash prizes in excess of £ 5,000, players are requested to contact the “National Lottery Customer Care Team” to validate their claim.