We've all probably dreamed about winning the UK Lottery. Whether it's buying a brand new mansion in the country, spoiling your friends and family or donating a hefty sum of money to your favourite charity, most of us have an idea of how we would spend our winnings. Let’s find out more about this legendary and long-standing UK Lotto game that brings Brits and online UK lottery players so much joy.
Related Article: US Lotto vs UK Lotto
The UK Lottery through the years
The very first UK Lottery draw took place on Saturday 19th November 1994 and has been going strong ever since. Just like other international lotto games, like the US Powerball, Mega Millions and EuroMillions, the UK Lottery has also gone through various changes to the game format over time:
19 November 1994
The first ever Lotto draw, known as The National Lottery at the time, takes place.
10 June 1995
Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison from St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex win the biggest ever prize on a single UK Lottery ticket winning £22.5 million.
6 January 1996
A new record is set for the biggest UK Lottery jackpot at £42 million. Three anonymous ticket holders each received £14 million.
5 February 1997
The first ever Wednesday draw is held.
18 May 2002
The National Lottery officially changes the game name to Lotto.
10 February 2011
The rollover limit was increased from three draws to four.
5 November 2011
A Superdraw was held and four players shared the £10 million jackpot.
29 September 2012
The first quadruple rollover took place when the jackpot reached a whopping £19.5 million. Five ticket holders shared the top UK Lottery jackpot prize.
5 October 2013
Bigger jackpots offered
Prize for matching three balls increased to £25 from £10
Ticket price increased from £1 to £2
Lotto Raffle introduced, offering 50 prizes of £20,000 in each draw
8 October 2015
The Millionaire Raffle replaces Lotto Raffle, guaranteeing a £1 million winner in each draw in addition to 20 prizes of £20,000.
The four-rollover limit is scrapped and a £50 million jackpot cap introduced with one additional draw allowed.
The number matrix increases from 49 to 59.
The Lucky Dip is introduced for matching just two numbers.
9 January 2016
A record Lotto jackpot of £66 million was shared between two players who matched all six main numbers, with both winners receiving £33 million each.
23 December 2017
The UK Lottery held a special draw with 200 additional ticket holders guaranteed to win £20,000 each.
18 November 2018
The latest UK Lottery changes were announced. These changes will once again create bigger fixed prizes for all prize tiers.
A new rule came in setting a maximum of five rollovers before it must be won. When the Must Be Won draw takes place, the funds will filter down into the rest of the prize tiers if there’s no ‘Match 6’ winner/s.
The Lotto Millionaire Raffle has been discontinued.
Playing the UK Lottery online
The UK Lottery attracts lottery players from all over the world thanks to the internet with millions having been awarded in prizes. If you don’t reside in the United Kingdom all you have to do is register on PlayUKLottery.com and you too can give yourself the opportunity to take part in this amazing lotto game. All you need to do is create a PlayUKLottery account, select UK Lottery and pick your lucky numbers.
Taking home a UK Lottery prize
There are plenty of ways to win on the UK Lottery. To hit the jackpot, you'll need to have matched all six main numbers. You can choose from any numbers between 1 and 59.
In total, there are six prize pay-out tiers, with the lowest fixed at £2. With endless opportunities to strike it lucky, you could become a millionaire overnight!
The Bonus Ball
The Bonus Ball gives you an opportunity to increase the size of your prize if you miss out on the jackpot by a single number. Here is an example of how the bonus ball comes into play:
You pick the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on your Lotto ticket.
The six main numbers in the Lotto draw are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.
This means you have matched five of the main numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 – but failed to match your number 6.
If number 6 is then drawn as the Bonus Ball, it means you have matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball. You, therefore, receive the ‘Match 5 + Bonus’ prize. If the Bonus Ball is any other number, you remain in the ‘Match 5’ tier.
The Bonus Ball only applies if you have matched five of the main numbers. There is no prize for ‘Match 4 + Bonus’, ‘Match 3 + Bonus’, and so on.
UK Lottery draws take place on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, offering six different ways to win.
Behind the scenes at the UK Lottery
Just as in the US Powerball and Mega Millions lotto games, the UK National Lottery draws are monitored by an independent auditor, who verifies that each and every draw is conducted according to procedures and that each draw is completely random.
The ‘Draw Manager’, who is an employee of Camelot, is responsible for the start of the draw. This person ensures that the draw runs smoothly. Also, members of the National Lottery Compliance team are present at a minimum of one Wednesday, one Friday and one Saturday draw each quarter.
The machines and ball sets are sealed and stored in a secure area after each draw. Access to the equipment is extremely restricted. Before each and every draw, these seals are examined to ensure that they have not been opened. The National Measurement Office tests each ball set and draw machine on a regular basis.
The draw machine and ball set are selected randomly before the draw. The names of the options are placed in envelopes, which are shuffled, and then an independent third-party selects an envelope.
The UK National Lottery has 13 draw machines in operation, so, for each draw, one of these machines will be randomly selected. Each of the machines has its own name. The first six names are from the legend of King Arthur, drawing from the name of the UK National Lottery Operator, Camelot. These machines are Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, Vyvyan, and Galahad. The other seven draw machines are named after gemstones, each of which has its own unique characteristics and symbolism.
Unlike most other lotto games, the UK Lottery uses colours to distinguish the numbers drawn each Wednesday and Saturday.
The balls come in six different colours, grouped in sets of nine or ten numbers.
The National Lottery Good Causes Fund receives 28p from every £1 spent on tickets for National Lottery games. Games included in the Good Causes Fund include the UK Lottery, EuroMillions, Hotpicks and Thunderball. Scratchcards and instant win games are also included.
Around £30 million a week in total gets created thanks to lottery players.
There have been over 525,000 individual awards granted across the UK in the fields of health, education, environment, charity, sport, the arts and heritage.
How do I claim the money on PlayUKLottery if I win the jackpot?
If you match all six numbers we will be the first to congratulate you telephonically on your new found fortune! You won’t need to worry about any arrangements, as we collect the prize money for you, and pay you out.
You will also receive an automated results mailer informing you of the latest UK Lottery winning numbers and any matches you may have had in the draw you entered into.
Once the numbers have been double-checked, your winnings will be paid into your winnings wallet. When you are ready, you can then log into your account and withdraw your prize money.
Play the UK Lottery online today and who knows, “It could be YOU!”
This article forms part of our UK Lottery Resource Centre.