To play Lotto, you are required to select six numbers from 1 to 59. If those six numbers match the six main numbers drawn, you win the jackpot. A seventh number - the Bonus Ball – is also drawn, but this is not included on your ticket.
Why is there no Bonus Ball on my ticket?
The Bonus Ball only comes into play if you have matched five of the six main numbers. It is designed to give you an extra chance to match the remaining number on your ticket and win a better prize. Any of the six chosen numbers on your ticket can therefore be used to match the Bonus Ball if the other five match the main numbers.
There is no need to select a seventh number on your ticket as the Bonus Ball is drawn from the 53 numbers left in the machine after the six main numbers have come out. The same number cannot appear twice in the same draw.
How does it work?
The Bonus Ball gives you an opportunity to increase the size of your prize if you miss out on the jackpot by a single number. Here is an example of how it works:
- You pick the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 on your Lotto ticket.
- The six main numbers in the Lotto draw are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.
- This means you have matched five of the main numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 – but failed to match your number 6.
- If number 6 is then drawn as the Bonus Ball, it means you have matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball. You therefore receive the ‘Match 5 + Bonus’ prize. If the Bonus Ball is any other number, you remain in the ‘Match 5’ tier.
The Bonus Ball only applies if you have matched five of the main numbers. There is no prize for ‘Match 4 + Bonus’, ‘Match 3 + Bonus’, and so on.
Prizes & Odds
The exact Lotto prizes vary in value from draw to draw, as they depend on the total number of winners in each prize tier. However, matching the Bonus Ball alongside the five main numbers will significantly boost your payout. The following table shows the different odds and prizes for the ‘Match 5’ and ‘Match 5 + Bonus’ categories.
|Prize Tier||Odds Of Winning||Percentage of Prize Fund||Estimated Prize|
|Match 5 + Bonus||1 in 7,509,579||1.9%||£50,000|
|Match 5||1 in 144,415||2%||£1,000|
The ‘Match 5 + Bonus’ tier receives a smaller percentage of the prize fund than the ‘Match 5’ tier, but the longer odds mean that far fewer players are likely win in this category. As such, they will receive a prize that is approximately 50 times greater than players who match just five main numbers.
After the first six numbers have been drawn, each remaining number has a 1 in 53 chance of being drawn as the Bonus Ball. Go to the Lotto Odds page to find out more about the chances of winning in all the different prize tiers.