You might be interested to learn that the UK lottery wasn’t always so vast and easily accessible. In 1698 a decree stated that lotteries in England were illegal by default unless specifically authorised. Early UK lotteries included the Million Lottery (1694) and the Malt Lottery (1697) and were part of a series of financial experiments by the English government, which included the foundation of the Bank of England to raise capital available to the state. Luckily, an act passed in 1934 legalised small lotteries; with the act further liberalising lotteries by 1976.
These days, the UK literally has hundreds of lotteries – according to the Gambling Commission, a whopping 520 licensed lotteries in total. This doesn’t even include the many other international lotteries available. The benefit to having so many lotteries is that you can choose exactly which game you’d like to play. You could play the Euro Millions with its big-money jackpot, but you’d have to keep in mind that you’re playing against a lot of others. You could choose to play on a smaller scale with a bigger chance of winning, but a smaller jackpot; or you could decide to play a lottery game which donates to charity. Whichever you prefer, the UK lotto definitely caters for all.
The National Lottery of the UK, was founded in 1994 and is still one of the most popular lotteries available. It is a franchise which was awarded to the Camelot Group on 25 May 1994 and the very first draw took place on the 19 November of the same year. It was presented on a television program with Noel Edmonds and the very first numbers drawn were 30, 3, 5, 44, 14, and 22, with a bonus ball of 10. Seven jackpot winners shared the prize of £5 874 778.
All National Lottery prizes are paid as a lump sum and are absolutely tax-free. In case you’d like to know where the ticket money goes – money received by the National Lottery is divided between a few receivers. About 53% of the money goes to the prize fund, 25% to “good causes”, 12% to the UK Government, 4% to retailers as commission, 5% to the operator (Camelot), 4% to cover operating costs, and just 1% as profit. As of December 2016, the National Lottery is only open to people over the age of 16 and tickets can be bought from approved UK premises or online.
Unfortunately, online ticket purchases are restricted to people with a UK bank account and who are residents of the UK or Isle of Man, and who are physically present in UK or Isle of Man when buying the ticket. Let’s have a look at some more information on the types of games offered, and when the draws take place.
The National Lottery in the UK offers a variety of games such as:
Lotto – a choice of six different number between 1 and 59. A ticket of randomly generated numbers is available and is called a “Lucky Dip”. The entry fee is £1 per board. The draw takes place every Wednesday and Saturday, live on the official website at 8:30pm. The overall odds of winning any of the prizes are 9.3 to 1.
Millionaire Raffle – a raffle number is automatically included with each line of the Lotto numbers you buy. Each raffle is made up of a colour and eight numbers, such as AQUA 7649 9321. If you’re lucky enough to win this, there are 20 prizes of a fixed £20 000 and one prize of £1 million.
Lotto Hotpicks – this game uses the main Lotto draw numbers but here you choose both the numbers and the number of draw balls you want to try match (maximum of 5). If you do not match all the numbers chosen, you do not win. This game costs £1 per board. Odds of winning depend on the amount of numbers you choose to match; if you choose 1 number the odds are 1 in 10, if you choose the full 5 the odds go to 1 in 834 398.
Thunderball – pick five main numbers from 1 to 39 and one “Thunderball” number from 1 to 14. Prizes are won by matching the main numbers, whilst matching a Thunderball number raises the prize value. The top prize is won by matching all five numbers and the Thunderball. The Thunderball draw is held every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and is live on the official website at 8pm. The cost is £1 per board. Odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 8 060 598.
Euromillions – this is a European lottery with the first draw taking place in Paris in 2004. Originally only France, Spain and the UK were involved but it has since grown to include the likes of Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, Ireland, and Switzerland. Current draws are done in Paris and are shown on the official National Lottery UK website every Tuesday and Friday about three hours after the draw has taken place. The entry fee for Euromillions is £2.50 per board and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 139 838 160.
UK Millionaire Maker – each EuroMillions ticket bought in the UK has a unique “UK Millionaire Maker” code which is made up of four letters and five numbers. Draws also take place every Tuesday and Friday, with two winners per draw each taking home a fixed £1 000 000.
Online Instant Wins – these are games played online which can lead to instant wins. Some of these games are like virtual scratchcards whilst others require more interaction such as dice-rolling or matching special symbols as one would in a casino. These games are purely luck based and players must be registered in order to claim prizes. Cost varies from 25p to £10.
Scratchcards – these can be bought at most newsagents and supermarkets. Scratch cards come in categories which cost £1, £2, £3, £5, £10 with games and prizes varying greatly. The most generic scratch card requires you to match three of the same prize amounts. The current highest jackpot for a scratch card is £4 million on a £10 card. The highest win for a £1 scratch card is £100 000.
There have been many more games run and discontinued since the National Lottery started up, keeping it interesting and one of the most popular lotteries. Go on, you could be the next winner!
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