As the saying goes, you have to play it to win it. The problem is choosing which lottery to play! There are hundreds of lotteries in the UK – the Gambling Commission records 520 licensed lotteries in total – and many other international lottos too.
The question is what do you want from your lottery? Do you want to play the for the Euro Millions jackpot and aim for the big money, but going against a lot of other players? Do you want a smaller scale lottery, where the competition is less, but the winnings are reasonable? Maybe you want a lottery that gives to charity?
Whether it's Euro Millions or Postcode Pounds, our guide will point you in the right direction.
The Best The UK Lottery Has To Offer
Below, we've got the best there is to offer for UK lottery fanatics. From the big players like Euro Millions lottery, all the way to the smaller jackpots that you may have never heard of; we have everything the UK lottery scene has to offer.
The Health Lottery was launched in 2011 by Daily Express owner, Richard Desmond. It isn’t a national lottery; instead it is a partnership of 51 society lotteries, each one representing a local autority area within GB. You could choose to buy tickets for the weeks that benefit your home county!
You’d choose the Health Lottery because it’s cheaper than the Lotto and most other lotteries. Tickets only cost £1 or 50p. These 50p Quick Pick draws aren’t too shabby either as prizes go up to £25,000. Of course, its biggest selling point is that one has higher chances of winning the Health Lottery than winning the Lotto. Seven times higher odds than the Lotto, to be exact!
These odds are very favourable, but only if you don’t mind that the winnings are capped at £100,000 per draw. The main prize is worked out at 80% of the ticket sales that week, so it can also be less than £100,000. During the lottery’s early days, the organisers were criticised for only donating 20p of every £1 goes to good causes, as compared to 28% donated by the National Lottery. However, a larger proportion of the proceeds are allocated to prizes.
Euro Millions is always guaranteed to offer a massive jackpot. The kitty is drawn from ticket sales across Europe, meaning that record breaking lottery jackpots are a common occurrence.
Both UK players, and those throughout the continent are able to purchase tickets for an win Euro Millions. One of the easiest places to buy your tickets is at the Lotter — a one-stop lottery shop, where you can quickly and easily buy tickets for Euro Millions and dozens of other draws.
UK National Lottery
This is UK’s first and most popular lottery. There are several games under the National Lottery brand – EuroMillions, Lotto, Lotto Hot Picks and Thunderball; each with different jackpot sizes and slightly different rules. Together, these games produce over six million winners every week and have made 3,700 millionaires since its launch in 1994. 70% of adults in the UK play lotto on a regular basis! With so many players, they raise £33 million a week for charity and £20 billion since its inception.
If you’re aiming for life-changing prizes, play the UK National Lottery. Jackpots are always in the seven-figures and continuously rollover if they are not won in a draw; there are fifty £20,000 prizes up for grabs each week too. Another appealing part of the Lotto is that you get a free entry into the Lotto Raffles with every ticket. The EuroMillions ticket gives you a free entry into the Millionaire Maker draw, which guarantees two millionaires a week!
However, its popularity also means that the odds of actually winning prizes are much lower. The odds of winning the Lotto jackpot is 1 in 14 million. The odds of winning the smaller prizes are decent – 1 in 9 for the £5 prize in the Lotto HotPicks. It also makes more statistical sense to play HotPicks over Thunderball. These odds and rewards are comparable to that of mobile slots. I suppose lotteries (and the National Lottery in particular) is a beacon of hope, as the process is so drawn out. You have to choose five numbers or predict lucky numbers, buy tickets and keep them safely in your wallet, check the newspapers for the draw results or watch the live draw on TV. All this as opposed to watching the spinning slot reel for 3 seconds.
The Thunderball was started in 1999 and is still going strong as one of the pillars of the National Lottery brand. Unlike its lottery cousins, the National Lottery and EuroMillions, the Thunderball draw is designed to be a consistent prize giveaway. The winner of the Thunderball always gets £500,000, with no sharing the jackpot among any other winners. There's no pool of prizes to be shared with the Thunderball; if you get the required numbers then you get the listed prize.
It's this prize certainty which has made the Thunderball an absolute staple of the lottery world. The Thunderball offers lower prizes, but comes with a higher chance of winning something, which doesn't have to be watered down between other players.
You can play the Thunderball every day and then look forward to 3 weekly draws. The Thunderball draw even has a direct debit service where you can set up a direct debit to cover 8 weeks of play, with your final direct debit covering any Thunderball tickets that you've bought during that period.
There's even a lucky dip feature if you play online, so you don't even have to worry about which numbers you pick either. You'll even receive an email notification on your National Lottery account if you win, so you don't even have to check the results if you don't want to.
National Irish Lottery
As you would expect, this lottery funds various charities and projects around Ireland. So, you’d choose this one over other lotteries if you were Irish. There is a minimum jackpot of €2 million, and no maximum to the number of rollovers! (Compare this to the Health Lottery where there is a prize cap of £100,000) You are also 40% more likely to win the Irish Lottery. Another difference: you have to be 18 to play the lotto. Elsewhere in the UK, the minimum gambling age of 16.
People’s Postcode Lottery
You’d recognise this one from their heartwarming TV advertisements. There’s no lucky numbers involved here, as your entry ticket consists of your postcode and a unique three-digit number. It is subscription-based, which means you can register your postcode once and be automatically entered into five draws a month!
The monthly £2,000,000 jackpot is also shared between all players in one postcode area, with a maximum payout of £400,000 per person. This means that you’ll share this jackpot prize with your neighbours (those who’ve bought tickets). Your chances are the same whether or not there are many houses on your street. Buying more tickets just increases the amount of money you can win. You can’t increase your chances of winning by buying more lines, as you would with the Lotto.
Now, let’s combine the thrill of lottos with the sophistication of mobile casinos and betting sites. The top UK bookmakers allow you to bet on the lottery results, often offering extra bonuses and higher odds too. Your potential returns are far higher than what you’d get on a regular lottery stake. You can play on your mobile device or on your computer, and you can trust that these major bookmakers have reliable and easy-to-use software. The flip side is that you are tied to their terms and conditions, such as maximum payouts per draw or bonus conditions.
Betfred offers daily boosts on several lotteries, including the UK, Irish, Euro Millions, Spanish and 49’s draws. For example, you’d get £750 for 3 correct numbers in the UK lottery if you bought tickets with Betfred; the regular prize is only £10! New players also get free matched bet up to £25, while regular players enjoy monthly promotions like the Bonus Ball Bonanza. Most winners take home 4-figure prizes, while the largest prizes stand at around £100,000. The odds are pretty reasonable too; averaging 1 in 100,000 for the top prize across all lotteries.
You aren’t actually playing the lotto, but you’re betting at fixed odds on the results of certain national lotteries. Ladbrokes offers 35 draws per week from the Spanish, Irish, NY and 49’s lottos. With Ladbrokes, you’ll enjoy fixed-odds and guaranteed cash prizes. As with Betfred’s players, most players win a few thousands on their stakes. Ladbrokes promises to multiply your stake by 10 to 200,000 times if your balls match. However, there is a maximum payout of £250,000 on any one draw/day. Their app works like a dream – you can pick your magic numbers, choose your stake, pick random numbers and check all the results.
Paddypower operates similar to Ladbrokes, in that you are betting on the results of lotteries instead of actually participating in the lottery. Lottery betting is just one of the events that you can bet on, alongside basketball, motor racing, financials and 42 other sports. You can bet on these lotteries: 49s, Hong Kong Ireland, New York, Spain and Germany; you were particularly inclined towards one of these national lotteries. Paddy Power has more promotions – four free bets of £5 with every £10 placed and occasional Money Back Specials.
A Final Piece of UK Lottery Advice
The general rule is: the bigger the jackpot, the harder it is to win. If you’d be satisfied with a few thousand quid, it’d be statistically wiser to play the smaller lotteries, as these offer better odds at winning.
It is also a good strategy to focus your funds on a certain lottery, as opposed to spreading your money over different games and different draws. So the real advice is choose a lottery and stick with it. The more you spread the money, the more you'll end up losing in the process. If you're going to play, it's best to play smart.
So, which lottery do you like to play? Have you ever won a nice amount? And maybe you have some additions to our list. Tell us in the comments below!