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Lottery FAQ

Frequently Asked Lottery Questions

Lottery FAQ Answers

1. When did the lottery start?

The UK National Lottery started on 19th November 1994.

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2. What age do you need to be to play the lottery?

You must be 16 years or older to play the lottery or to claim a prize.

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3. What time is the lottery draw?

The UK National lottery draw usually takes place at around 10:35pm on Wednesday and 8:45pm on Saturday. The Euromillions draw usually takes place at around 8:45pm (UK Millionaire raffle results are usually available around 9:45pm).

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4. What are the lottery results?

Check the latest lottery results on this page.

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5. What time do lottery ticket sales finish or close?

Ticket sales for the National lottery or Euromillions close at 7:30pm on the day of the draw.

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6. How long are lottery tickets valid for?

180 days from the day of the draw they were purchased for.

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7. How do I claim a lottery prize?

You can claim your prize from any National Lottery retailer upon presentation of your ticket. If you played online then your prize will be paid into your account.

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8. Are lottery winnings taxable?

UK residents do not need to pay tax on their lottery winnings. For residents outside the UK, you will need to check with your local tax authorities.

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9. Can I play the UK lottery from outside the UK?

Yes, but at the same time no! To read a full discussion on playing the UK lottery from outside the UK please click here.

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10. Can I play the UK lottery by subscription?

Yes, anyone with a UK address and UK bank account can play the lottery by subscription.

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11. What should you do if you find a winning lottery ticket?

You should take the ticket to your local police station and hand it in as you would with any valuable item you find.

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12. What happens if I lose my winning lottery ticket

Everything is not lost, under some circumstances you may still be able to claim your prize, please read about lost lottery tickets here.

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13. What are your odds of winning the lottery

Your chances of winning the UK National lottery jackpot are 1 in 13,983,816 for each ticket you buy. Your odds of winning ANY prize are 1 in 54.

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14. What are the odds of winning the EuroMillions

Your chances of winning the Euromillions jackpot are 1 in 116,531,800. Your chances of winning ANY prize are 1 in 13.

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15. Is it possible to learn how to play the lottery

Yes, of course. Most shop keepers will be able to tell you how to play the lottery. But if you mean 'learn how to win the lottery', then the answer is "no" because the results are random and do not follow a pre-defined sequence.

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16. What are the odds of winning premium bonds compared to the lottery?

The odds of winning over 1 million on premium bonds is over 40 billion to 1. The odds of winning the lottery jackpot are close to 14 million to 1 (exactly 13,983,816).

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17. Is it better to play the Health Lottery than the National Lottery?

That depends on what you mean by 'better'. The top prize in The Health Lottery (THL) is 100,000 compared to a typical 1.7 million on the National Lottery. To win 100,00 on THL the odds are 1 in 2,118,760. To win approximately 100,000 on the National Lottery you'd need to win the average 5 + 1 bonus ball prize at odds of 1 in 2,330,636. There are no rollovers on THL.

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18. What are the most likely lottery numbers?

All of the numbers have the same chance of being picked in each draw, so none are more likely to be picked than others. You can see what has happened in the past by looking at the lottery statistics page

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19. How do I pick random numbers?

It is extremely difficult for humans to pick their own numbers randomly mostly because they have a preconception of randomness. Try it yourself or ask a friend and more often than not you or they will not select any two consecutive numbers, let alone three. But cast your eye down any sequence of lottery results and you will see that two consecutive numbers appear quite regularly. The bets option is to use a random number generator like the one here.

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20. Should I pick my own numbers or use the lottery lucky dip?

It makes absolutely no difference to your chances of winning.

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21. Do I have the same chances of winning if I choose the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6?

Yes, you have exactly the same chances of winning the jackpot as every other combination of numbers, namely 1 in 13,983,816. However, you would be amazed how many people do that. One experts estimate put it at around 10,000 people picking just those numbers in every draw. So, if by chance, the numbers 1 to 6 did come up, you would be sharing your jackpot with around 10,000 people.

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22. What are the chances of someone winning the lottery with the first ever lottery ticket they buy?

Exactly the same as winning the jackpot with any other tickets they buy at any time in their life.

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23. Why do some people choose publicity when they win the jackpot?

Because, for most people, it would be extremely difficult to explain away the sudden riches.

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24. How do I start a lottery syndicate?

You should start with a lottery syndicate agreement that governs what everybody in the syndicate needs to pay and what share of prize money they will win. Read our syndicate page.

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25. Why do the people lottery presenters wear gloves?

So that the balls are not changed in any way by adding grease or dirt from anyone's hand. Even though the balls could be cleaned afterwards, it is a visual assurance that the draw is totally fair and nothing is being interfered with.

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26. What will tonight's lottery numbers be?

You can find tonight's lottery numbers and those for any draw in our lottery results section.

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27. How can I be sure the lottery draws are not biased?

The ball sets and machines are tested by independent bodies in order to ensure that they all operate in a random fashion and that they act in a similar manner. Statisticians regularly check the draw history and test the data for signs of bias.

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28. I would like to see the draw myself rather than see it on television. How do I arrange this?

Should you wish to appear in the audience for one of the National Lottery draws you can contact the BBC Studio Audiences on 0370 901 1227 during office hours (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm).

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29. I bought a ticket for a draw but didn't get given the right numbers. I didn't realise until after the draw took place. Can I have a refund?

It is the player's responsibility to check their ticket. You have up to two hours or until the terminals close to obtain a refund or correct your selection if, for any reason, you have received an incorrect ticket. Obviously, you cannot claim a refund after the draw has taken place.

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30. How does the Lucky Dip work?

The Lucky Dip facility uses special software to generate numbers at random and the programs are tested to make sure they are. As each line is generated independently, on some occasions one, two, or even more numbers may be repeated on the same ticket.

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31. How many people win using Lucky Dip?

There is no data directly disclosing how many people win the jackpot after using the Lucky Dip facility on each draw as opposed to their own hand-picked numbers. However, there was a survey of 2,000 millionaires created by the lottery and 40% of them reported using Lucky Dip.

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32. I am interested in applying for a Lottery funding. Where can I get more information?

Visit our pages on Lottery Funding.

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33. How do I apply to sell lottery tickets and scratch cards?

Any retailer who would like to sell National Lottery tickets should apply in writing to Camelot's Retailer Selection Manager. You are only likely to be allowed a franchise if the current retailer(s) in your area experiences business failure.

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Friday 24th October 2014
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