Coronavirus: How are lotteries around the world being affected?
As coronavirus continues to have a big impact on everyday life, it has also changed the way that lotteries are played in the UK and many other countries. Find out how the UK National Lottery has responded to the outbreak, what is happening elsewhere, and get the answers to some of the most common questions.
The drastic measures introduced by the UK Government have seen the country go into a state of lockdown, with citizens initially told they could only go outside for certain reasons. While restrictions are gradually being lifted, Lottery.co.uk has received many enquiries asking about how games are working during this extreme situation and you can find the answers on this page.
UK National Lottery Games
Draws are continuing as scheduled at the current time and tickets remain available from retailers and online. You can still take part in all your favourite games – including Lotto, Thunderball and Set For Life. EuroMillions, which is drawn in France, is also carrying on as normal, although you can currently only buy tickets in advance for the next two draws.
Camelot’s own head office in Watford had to close down temporarily for a deep clean after one of its employees tested positive for Covid-19, and the National Lottery’s priority is the health of its employees. For now, though, officials are adamant that players will still be able to take part.
A spokesperson for Camelot has said: “Please rest assured that The National Lottery will continue to operate as normal and draws will happen as planned.“
Find the answers to some of your questions about playing the lottery during the coronavirus outbreak below:
Will the lottery stop?
All lottery games have been able to continue so far and the National Lottery is committed to carrying on as normal. However, as it is a rapidly-evolving situation plans could change at any point. Lottery.co.uk will keep you posted with news of any announcements or changes to the schedule.
Now that the country is in lockdown how can I buy tickets?
Since the UK has gone into lockdown, many National Lottery retailers have closed their doors. Some have remained open but the National Lottery has advised players to only buy tickets as part of their essential shop.
The easiest and safest way to play at the current time is online. You can play online from home at a time that is convenient for you. There is no chance of your numbers getting lost or damaged as there is a permanent digital record of your entry, and you will be notified by email if you win so you do not even have to check the results.
Can I still play in advance?
You can still play in advance as normal. There had temporarily been a limit on playing EuroMillions in advance – the maximum was two - due to the uncertainty over what might happen. However, it is now possible to enter up to eight draws (four weeks) in advance again. All other games have remained unaffected throughout the pandemic.
How will I claim my prize?
The rules about claiming prizes in the UK give you 180 days from the date of a draw before your ticket expires. There is no rush to come forward and if a lockdown is in place you should wait until those restrictions are over. If you have bought a ticket from a retailer, you can also claim by post by sending your entry to the National Lottery.
The National Lottery may also make further announcements about changes to the claims procedure if it feels it is necessary. If you play online, however, you are guaranteed to receive prizes because they are paid straight into your lottery account.
Have there been any changes to games to create more winners?
The rules of the games have remained the same. There are no plans to make any changes, such as how prizes are distributed, in light of the current situation. The National Lottery offers a range of games with different prize structures so that players can choose the ones that suit them best.
Will more money be donated to good causes?
The National Lottery will continue to distribute the same percentage of money raised from ticket sales, 28%, to good causes. This works out at around £30 million every week and always goes to charitable projects. Specialist organisations decide which causes should receive support.
The National Lottery Community Fund has stated that it will be as flexible as possible with organisations to help them get through the crisis, and it has been announced that up to £300 million will be donated specifically to support the most vulnerable at the current time. This will include supporting food banks, the elderly, health in the community and causes that combat loneliness and isolation.
It is the government that directly funds services such as the NHS and the police.
Lotteries Around the World
Take a look at how coronavirus has affected lotteries in other parts of the world, where populations have been locked down even more radically than the UK.
Lotteries in Italy have resumed following a six-week suspension. Games were halted on Saturday 21st March as the country battled the pandemic and everyone was asked to stay at home apart from to carry out essential activities.
Draws did not take place and ticket sales were unavailable until plans were announced for Italy to emerge from its lockdown. Lotteries, including SuperEnalotto, were able to restart from 4th May.
In France, lottery games have continued in spite of various other restrictions, with tickets remaining on sale. As well as holding draws for its own National Lottery games, France is also the home of EuroMillions draws every Tuesday and Friday night.
During the lockdown, people were only allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as to buy food or medicine, and anyone who violated the lockdown was heavily fined. However, there were never any announcements about changes to any lottery draw schedule and life is now slowly returning to normal.
The situation in Spain has also been severe and the country was effectively put in quarantine due to coronavirus, with even outdoor exercise banned for seven weeks. Lottery operator Loterias y Apuestas responded by suspending all of its draws and ticket sales from 15th March 2020.
However, lotteries started again on 18th May after Spain came out of its lockdown, so tickets are now on sale again for EuroMillions and domestic games such as La Primitiva. The deadline for claiming prizes has been suspended, so players do not have to worry about to trying to claim any money they have already won while restrictions are in place.