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Lotto FAQs

Learn more about Lotto with the answers to some of the game’s most frequently asked questions. Find out about different aspects of how to play, prize information and also about Lotto HotPicks.

How to Play

How do you play Lotto?

To play Lotto, you have to select six numbers from 1 to 59. You can play online or by visiting an authorised retailer in the UK. Go to the page on How to Play Lotto for step-by-step instructions of what to do.

What time are the draws?

Draws take place at approximately 8:00pm on Wednesdays and 7:45pm on Saturdays.

When do ticket sales close?

The cut-off time for ticket sales is 7:30pm on the day of the draw. Sales then reopen at 9:00pm for the next draw.

How many draws can you enter in advance?

You can play up to four weeks in advance and can enter the Wednesday or the Saturday draw, or both. It is therefore possible to play eight consecutive draws if you wish to play on both days of the week.

Why is there no Bonus Ball on tickets?

There is no Bonus Ball on your ticket because the aim of the game is to try and match the six main numbers.

The Bonus Ball is only relevant if you have already matched five of the first six numbers - if the one number left on your ticket is drawn as the Bonus, your prize is boosted. Learn more about the Bonus Ball.

How much does it cost to play?

It costs £2 per line to play Lotto.

Can you play Lotto from outside the UK?

You can take part in Lotto from outside the UK. You won’t be able to buy a ticket directly from the National Lottery – either online or at a retailer abroad – but you can use a lottery concierge or lottery betting service. With a lottery concierge, an official Lotto ticket will be bought on your behalf and a scanned copy uploaded to your account. With lottery betting, you are wagering on the results of the draw rather than purchasing a ticket. The type of service available depends on where you are located.

Lotto Prizes

How do you win prizes?

You win prizes if the numbers on your ticket match the winning numbers drawn. You must match at least two numbers to win, and the more you match, the bigger your prize.

Are the prizes fixed amounts?

In any standard draw, all prizes apart from the jackpot are fixed amounts. The prize for matching two numbers is a free Lucky Dip. The payouts for matching three, four or five numbers are £30, £140 and £1,750 respectively. If you match five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball, you win £1 million. The jackpot is a different value in each draw and is shared between players if there are multiple winners.

What are the odds of winning?

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 45,057,474. The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 9.3.

What is the minimum jackpot?

The minimum jackpot for a Wednesday is £2 million and for Saturday it is £3.8 million. As more tickets are sold for Saturday draws, the National Lottery can offer a higher guaranteed jackpot than for Wednesday draws.

Is there a jackpot cap or rollover limit?

There is no jackpot cap on Lotto but the top prize is only allowed to roll over for a maximum of five draws. A Must Be Won draw is then held in the following game to ensure that the money for the top prize gets paid out.

What happens in a Must Be Won draw?

In a Must Be Won draw, the jackpot is guaranteed to be paid out. If nobody matches all six main numbers, a ‘rolldown’ occurs. This means that the top prize will be split between all the winners from the Match 3 category to Match 5 + Bonus. Everyone who wins a cash prize will therefore receive a significantly larger payout than normal. Go to the page on Must Be Won draws for more information.

What is the biggest jackpot ever?

The biggest Lotto jackpot in history was £66 million. This came in January 2016, when the rules allowed for the top prize to keep going until it had passed £50 million, and then it had to be won in the following draw. Two tickets – one belonging to David and Carol Martin from Hawick and one belonging to an anonymous player – matched all the numbers to win £33 million each.

How long do you have to claim prizes?

If you win a Lotto prize, you have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim your money. Go to the Claiming Prizes section to find out how to receive winnings.

Lotto HotPicks

What is Lotto HotPicks?

Lotto HotPicks is a game that gives you the flexibility to choose how many of the Lotto numbers you want to try and match. You can play Pick 1 to just try and match one of the numbers, up to Pick 5 to try and match five.

The choice of numbers is the same as for Lotto – from 1 to 59, and you can choose your own numbers or ask for a Lucky Dip if you want a random selection.

Do you have to play Lotto to be able to enter Lotto HotPicks?

No. Although Lotto HotPicks uses the same winning numbers as Lotto, the games are entirely separate. You can play Lotto HotPicks without Lotto, or vice versa.

How much does a ticket cost?

Lotto HotPicks costs £1 per play.

How do you win prizes?

To win a prize, all of your selected numbers must be among the six winning Lotto numbers. For example, if you play the Pick 5 game and four of your five numbers are drawn but one is not, you do not win a prize.

The prizes are fixed for each version of Lotto HotPicks, ranging from £6 for Pick 1 to £350,000 for Pick 5. Go to the Lotto HotPicks page to find out about all the different prize amounts.

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