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.
UK National Lottery Games
Draws have continued as normal during the outbreak and tickets are 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.
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 at the start of the outbreak, but the office reopened a few days later. The closure did not have an impact on the National Lottery's draw schedule.
Find the answers to some of your questions about playing the lottery during the coronavirus outbreak below:
Will the lottery stop?
How can I buy tickets?
Many shops closed their doors at the height of the lockdown but with restrictions now easing they have been able to reopen. You can still purchase tickets from retailers but you may find that there are new processes in place to maintain social distancing. The National Lottery has encouraged players to purchase Lucky Dips or give their numbers to the cashier verbally for them to enter into the lottery terminal.
Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions it's still easier and safer to play 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. 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 coronavirus outbreak. 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 already donated £300 million specifically to support the most vulnerable since the start of lockdown. This has included 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 were completely suspended for six weeks but have since resumed. 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 continued and tickets remained on sale through lockdown. 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.
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 was also suspended when the state of alarm was in place, so players did not have to worry about trying to claim any money they had already won until restrictions were lifted.