Friday 22nd August 2014
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How to Play Lotto

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.

If you are playing online from the UK, you will need to click on the UK Players button under the UK Lotto banner. This will take you to the National Lottery website where you can select what you wish to play from the Play Games tab. Full instructions will then be provided although they will be similar to the above.

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Players from outside the UK must select the Outside UK button and then follow the instructions which will be provided.

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

If you are lucky enough to win a prize by playing the National Lottery, you will need to read this section carefully to find out how to collect your prize, as the claims process changes depending on how much you have won. All Lotto prizes must be claimed by 23.00 GMT 180 days after the date of the winning draw, after which they will be forfeited and donated to the National Lottery Good Causes fund.

Up to £100

Up to £100 can be claimed from any National Lottery retailer: simply take your ticket to the counter and the sales assistant will scan it to validate the prize. You’ll hear a ‘win sound’ play and be given a Win Receipt which will tell you exactly how much you have won. Make sure you read this so you can double-check the amount of prize money the retailer has paid you.

Over £100 and up to £500

Some UK Lotto retailers can pay out prizes of up to £500. However, this is at their discretion and they are not obliged to do so. If a retailer cannot pay out your prize you can either return at an agreed time when they will have the cash available, or go to another retailer or National Lottery Post Office. However, if the retailer has already validated your ticket, you will have to return to the same retailer when funds are available.

Up to £5,000 (playing online only)

If you have purchased your ticket online, prizes of up to £5,000 will be automatically paid back to the bank account associated with your online account.

Up to £50,000

Winnings of up to £50,000 can be claimed from any designated National Lottery Post Office upon presentation of your ticket. You will need to complete a Claim Form and may receive your winnings by cash or cheque, but the maximum cash payout is £500. Prizes between £5,000 and £50,000 won by playing online will be sent out to your address via cheque.

Over £50,000

Winnings above £50,000 must be claimed by contacting the UK Lotto directly, regardless of whether you have bought your ticket online or from a retailer. Players will need to raise a claim via telephone or by post. You will then receive your winnings at a location to suit you, either at your home, an agreed location or at a Regional Centre after completing a Claim Form and providing suitable proof of identity. If players are submitting their prize claim by post, they are advised to use recorded delivery as the UK Lotto will take no responsibility for tickets lost in the post.

The postal address is:

The National Lottery
Accounts Department
PO Box 287
Watford
WD18 9TT