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How to Play Lotto

Lotto is changing! From October 2015, Lotto will be making some exciting changes. To find out more, visit the Changes to Lotto page.

This page will guide you through how to play Lotto, the most popular lottery in the UK. When purchasing a ticket from a retailer, players first must complete a Lotto playslip which consists of a number of boxes known as "boards". Six numbers must be selected by marking them off within each board. For more chances to win, players can complete as many boards as they desire, provided exactly six numbers are marked off in each one.

Players in a rush or without their usual numbers to hand can choose to mark the “Lucky Dip” box on the playslip and leave the rest of the board empty – the terminal then select your numbers at random. Alternatively you can simply ask the retailer for a Lucky Dip at the counter without the need for a playslip.

Choose Which UK Lotto Draw To Play

There are two UK Lotto draws per week which take place on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. You must indicate which draw your ticket is for by marking the relevant box on the playslip. If you want to enter your numbers into both draws, simply tick the box marked “Both”.

Choose the Number of Weeks To Play Lotto

Once you have chosen which draw you want to play, you must then decide how many weeks you wish to play for. You can use the same set of numbers for up to eight weeks, but if you only want to play in one week, simply mark off the draw(s) you wish to enter and leave the “Weeks” box blank.

How to Get Your UK Lotto Ticket

The retailer will enter your selections into the terminal and give you a National Lottery ticket which will have your chosen numbers and the draw date(s) printed on it. You must check that the Lotto numbers you have selected, the days you wish to play, the number of weeks and the draw date(s) are all correct, ensure the barcoded serial number is clearly readable and that the "void" box on your ticket has not been marked.

Keep your ticket safe as you'll need it to check your numbers following the draw and provide it as proof in order to claim any winnings.

How to Win the UK Lotto

The UK Lotto jackpot is won by matching all six numbers on the same board drawn from the possible 49 balls. However, prizes can be won by just matching at least three numbers. After the first six numbers are drawn, a seventh Bonus Ball is selected which gives players who have matched five numbers the chance to win an even bigger prize. Apart from the Match 3 prize, which has a fixed sum of £25, the other prizes are all pari-mutuel which means they are dependent on ticket sales.

UK Lotto Winning Combinations & Odds

Numbers to Match Odds Of Winning UK Lotto Prize Value
Match 6 (jackpot) 1 in 13,983,815 Saturday £5m
Wednesday £2.5 (estimated)
Match 5 plus Bonus Ball 1 in 2,330,635 £50,000 (estimated)
Match 5 1 in 55,490 £1,000 (estimated)
Match 4 1 in 1,031 £100 (estimated)
Match 3 1 in 56 £25 (fixed)

How to Check Your Ticket

Once the draw has taken place, you will need to check your numbers. If you have purchased your ticket online then they will be automatically checked for you, and you’ll receive a notification email if you’ve won. If you have bought your ticket from a retailer then you will need to check your own numbers. You can do this by:

How to Claim Your Lotto Winnings

The claims process for Lotto prizes varies according to the value of the prize and whether the winning ticket was purchased online or from an authorised retailer.

Here is a breakdown of the claims procedure for all UK National Lottery prizes:

Claims Process for Tickets Purchased Online

Up to and including £500

Winnings will be paid directly into your National Lottery account shortly after the draw. You can transfer the prize money to your bank account or keep it in your National Lottery online account to fund future ticket purchases.

Over £500 up to £30,000

You will need to confirm during the 180 day claim period that the prize money should be transferred into your bank account via the debit card that is associated with your National Lottery account.

Over £30,000

You will need to arrange payment of your winnings by calling the National Lottery Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000. Please have your ticket or play number and account details to hand.

Over £50,000

Please call the National Lottery Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 to arrange collection of your prize. You will agree with a representative from the National Lottery a suitable location to receive your winnings, which can be your home or a Regional Lottery Centre.

Direct Debit

If you play Lotto online via Direct Debit and win a prize up to and including £50,000, the prize money will automatically be transferred into your bank account or by cheque where appropriate.

Claims Process for Tickets Purchased from an Authorised Retailer

Up to and including £100

You can claim these prizes in person from any authorised National Lottery retailer. Your ticket will be validated and you’ll hear an audible alert to indicate you have a winning ticket. The retailer must also provide you with a receipt which details the value of your prize.

Over £100 up to £500

Prizes can be claimed directly from any authorised retailer as long as the retailer has sufficient funds available to pay the prize amount and that the winning ticket has not yet been validated. If you believe you have a winning ticket, you may wish to calculate your winnings and check that the retailer has sufficient funds available prior to getting your ticket validated. If the ticket has been validated, the prize can only be claimed from the retailer who originally validated the ticket or from a National Lottery affiliated Post Office.

Over £500 up to £50,000

Prizes over £500 can be claimed from a National Lottery affiliated Post Office or by sending the winning ticket and completed claim form by post to the following address:

The National Lottery
Accounts Dept
PO BOX 287
WD18 9TT

Claim forms are available from some authorised retailers or by contacting the National Lottery directly on 0845 910 0000. Make sure that you sign your ticket before posting it!

Over £50,000

Prizes over £50,000 must be claimed by calling the National Lottery Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000. A representative from the National Lottery will then arrange for you to receive your prize at an agreed location such as your home or a Regional Lottery Centre. In order to receive your prize, you must provide proof of identity and complete a claim form.

All Lotto prizes must be claimed by 23.00 GMT 180 days after the date of the draw. Prizes not claimed within that period will expire and be added to the National Lottery Good Causes fund.