History of Lotteries
This page provides a timeline on the history of all major lottery games which have been played in the UK since 1994. For more detailed historical information about the key changes and events in a specific game, select your chosen lottery from the list below:
Take a look at the full timeline, spanning more than two decades and including 11 different games! Which of these winners, updates and records do you remember?
The first ever Lotto draw, known as The National Lottery at the time, is held.
Business partners Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison from St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex win the biggest ever Lotto prize on a single ticket when they claim £22.5 million.
The largest ever Lotto jackpot of £42 million is shared by three anonymous ticket holders who each won £14 million.
A Wednesday Lotto draw is introduced.
The first Thunderball draw took place.
National Lottery Extra was drawn for the first time.
The game was renamed Lotto Extra.
First draw following the name change from the National Lottery to Lotto.
Lotto Hotpicks was played for the first time.
Thunderball was drawn on a Wednesday for the first time, in addition to the usual Saturday draw.
The first Daily Play draw took place.
The first EuroMillions draw was held, with players from the UK, France and Spain taking part.
The first draw involving players from Switzerland, Portugal, Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium and Austria took place.
People's Postcode Lottery was piloted in the north of England, with Mary Burnip of Chester-le-Street winning the £25,000 top prize later that week.
The Match 5 tier, with a jackpot of £130,000, was introduced.
Lotto Extra was drawn for the last time and is replaced by Dream Number.
Dream Number was played for the first time.
The Scottish People's Postcode Lottery was drawn for the first time.
KY13 8 in Kinross became the first postcode sector to win £1 million, with 89 players sharing the prize.
The Scottish and English lotteries merged into one People's Postcode Lottery.
Millionaire Raffle was introduced, guaranteeing that one UK player in every draw wins £1 million by matching the code that is automatically generated on their ticket for each line played in the main game.
Wales joins the People's Postcode Lottery.
- The number of balls was increased from 34 to 39.
- The jackpot doubled from £250,000 to £500,000.
- A new prize was created for matching just the Thunderball.
Thunderball introduced a Friday draw.
The last Dream Number draw took place.
Lotto Plus 5 was launched.
Daily Play was drawn for the last time.
- The first Tuesday EuroMillions draw was made, offering a jackpot of €100 million in celebration.
- The number of Lucky Stars was increased from nine to eleven.
- A new prize for matching two main numbers was introduced.
- Colin and Christine Weir from Largs in Ayrshire became the first players to win the top prize on EuroMillions at the jackpot cap. Their €185 million windfall worked out at £161.6 million.
- The jackpot cap was raised to €190 million.
The Health Lottery was drawn for the first time.
A player who bought their ticket in Bishop Auckland, County Durham won the biggest ever Health Lottery jackpot of £250,000.
The prize for matching three numbers fell from £50 to £20, with the reward for matching four numbers dropping to £250 from £500.
Adrian and Gillian Bayford from Haverhill in Suffolk became the first EuroMillions players to win at the revised jackpot cap of €190 million. However, due to exchange rates at the time, their sterling payout was £148.6 million, which was less than Colin and Christine Weir, who won €185 million (£161.6 million) the previous year.
A second weekly draw was introduced with the name Win Wednesday.
The 180-day deadline for claiming a £63.8 million EuroMillions jackpot from the draw on Friday 8th June 2012 passed without the ticket holder coming forward. The full amount, plus the interest it accrued, was donated to the Good Causes fund.
- The first draw featuring the new Bonus Ball took place.
- Three more prize tiers were introduced, including a Free Play for matching two main numbers.
Lotto Plus 5 was drawn for the last time
- Bigger jackpots offered.
- Prize for matching three balls increased to £25 from £10.
- Ticket price increased from £1 to £2.
- Lotto Raffle introduced, offering 50 prizes of £20,000 in each draw.
- Lotto Plus 5 discontinued.
- Millionaire Raffle became Millionaire Maker.
- The first ever Mega Friday Millionaire Maker draw took place, with 25 players winning £1 million plus a luxury VIP trip to Makepeace Island in Australia for themselves and seven guests.
The 50p Quick Pick game was launched, offering a jackpot of £25,000 on Tuesday and Friday, in addition to the main Health Lottery game.
The lottery increased the amount of the ticket price donated to good causes, rising from 25 percent to 27.5 percent.
A Thursday draw is introduced, meaning there are now three chances to win each week.
- The jackpot rose from £130,000 to £350,000
- The ball pool rose from 49 to 59
- The 50p QuickPick game ends.
- Two new draws are added on Tuesday and Friday meaning there are now five draws each week.
- Guaranteed £1 million winner in each draw
- Bigger jackpot amounts
- Odds of hitting the jackpot now stand at 1 in 45,057,474
- An increase from 49 to 59 balls to choose from
- A brand new prize for matching just two numbers
The biggest jackpot in Lotto history was shared between David and Carol Martin of Hawick in the Scottish Borders and an anonymous player from Worcester. Both players banked a £33 million share of the £66 million total.
A Lotto player won £35.1 million, the largest prize claimed on a single ticket in the history of the game. They opted to remain anonymous.
A number of changes were made to the game including:
- An extra Lucky Star was added
- An additional £1 million Millionaire Maker prize was added
- European Millionaire Maker was introduced
- Mega Friday became Mega Week
- The price of a EuroMillions line rose to £2.50
- Starting jackpots rose to €17 million (around £14 million)
- Superdraw jackpots rose to €130 million (around £110 million)
QuickWin is lauched with draws every three minutes and jackpots up to £25,000.
EuroMillions HotPicks is introduced, offering five different ways to win:
- Pick 1 & Match 1: £10
- Pick 2 & Match 2: £100
- Pick 3 & Match 3: £1,500
- Pick 4 & Match 4: £30,000
- Pick 5 & Match 5: £1,000,000
A Tuesday Thunderball draw was introduced, increasing the chances to win the £500,000 top prize to four times each week.
Changes to the Lotto rules came into effect, which said that the jackpot could only roll over a maximum of five consecutive times before it must be won. The prize structure was also completely overhauled, and the 5+Bonus Ball prize was increased to £1 million. The Lotto Millionaire Raffle also came to an end as part of the changes.
The number of Millionaire Maker prizes awarded in each draw was reduced from two to one. However, this change allowed more special events to take place with multiple guaranteed winners.
A new record was set for the biggest lottery win in the UK. A single anonymous ticket holder pocketed £170 million by matching all the numbers in a Must Be Won draw, after the EuroMillions jackpot reached its €190 million cap.
The EuroMillions jackpot cap was increased, allowing the top prize to rise as high as €200 million. The distribution of the prize fund was also altered so that a bigger percentage would go to the jackpot.
The Health Lottery Monthly Mega Raffle, which offered a prize of £250,000 once a month, came to an end. It was replaced with an extra £100,000 draw every Wednesday and Saturday.
The EuroMillions jackpot cap of €200 million was reached and won on the third draw. New rules introduced at the start of 2020 meant that the jackpot cap increased by €10 million.
A single player won €210 million, becoming the biggest EuroMillions winner of all time.
A ticket holder from France won the maximum EuroMillions jackpot of €220 million. The cap was subsequently adjusted to €230 million.
The record for the biggest lottery prize won in the UK was broken again, as Gloucester’s Joe and Jess Thwaite matched all the numbers to win £184 million.
A UK player landed £195 million after EuroMillions had reached its jackpot cap, becoming the game’s largest winner of all time.