New rules came into effect from Wednesday 21st November, ensuring that jackpots are won more often and that all non-jackpot prize categories have fixed amounts at every level. The cost of a ticket and the number of balls remains the same.
The jackpot starts at £3.8 million on a Saturday, or £2 million on a Wednesday, increasing in value each time it is not won. However, a new rule states that the jackpot can only roll five times before it must be won. When a ‘Must-Be-Won’ draw takes place, the money will roll down if nobody matches all six main numbers and will be shared out between all the winners in every other category from ‘Match 3’ upwards.
The prizes also changed. The value of most prizes used to depend on the number of winners in each tier, varying from draw to draw, but there is now a fixed amount for each category. The following table shows the prizes you can win since the changes were made.
|Numbers Matched||New Prize (from 21st November 2018)||Previous Prize|
|5 + Bonus Ball||£1 million||Estimated £50,000|
|2||Free Lucky Dip||Free Lucky Dip|
|The overall odds of winning remain at 1 in 9.3|
As part of these changes, the Lotto Millionaire Raffle was discontinued and the money from ticket sales that went to generating prizes for that draw now goes to the main draw to pay for the larger fixed prizes.
Here is a summary of the changes introduced to Lotto in November 2018:
- The Lotto Millionaire Raffle ended. The final draw took place on Saturday 17th November 2018
- The starting jackpot was set at £3.8 million for Saturday draws, and £2 million for Wednesday draws
- The fixed jackpot cap of £22 million was replaced by a five-draw rollover limit
- Must Be Won Draws now take place after the fifth rollover
- If no players match six numbers in a Must Be Won draw, the prize money is shared between all players in the Match 3, Match 4, Match 5, and Match 5+Bonus Ball tiers. Previously, the money only rolled down to the 5+Bonus tier
- All prizes apart from the jackpot are now fixed amounts, rather than pari-mutuel
- The Match 5 + Bonus prize increased to £1 million
- The Match 5 prize increased to £1,750
- The Match 4 prize increased to £140
- The Match 3 prize increased to £30
Since 1994, Lotto has undergone many updates and set several different records, which you can read about in detail on the History page. Prior to the November 2018 changes, the last major revamp took place in October 2015.
How the popular game worked was largely restructured, from the introduction of an extra prize tier to a change in the maximum jackpot. Here is a summary of what happened:
- The ball pool increased from 49 to 59
- A guaranteed £1 million winner was introduced in every draw as part of the Lotto Raffle
- The four draw rollover limit was replaced with a £50 million jackpot cap, meaning bigger prizes were on offer
- Odds of winning the top prize became 1 in 45,057,474
- A new prize was added for matching two numbers