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How to Play Lotto

To play Lotto, simply select six numbers between 1 and 59. Draws take place on Wednesday at 8.30pm and Saturday at 7.45pm, so be sure to check what time ticket sales close so you don't miss out on a chance to win.

You can buy Lotto tickets from authorised retailers across the UK or enter draws online. However you choose to play, the main steps you need to follow are the same:

Tonight's Mega Millions Jackpot
$97 Million
Time left to buy tickets:

Direct Debit

National Lottery players can also choose to play via Direct Debit. This option allows you to enter draws automatically and continuously so you never miss out on a chance to win.

Once the Direct Debit is fully set up you will then be entered into your chosen draws. Entries will be made automatically, but if you want to update your numbers or make any other changes then you can do so by logging into your account.

How Many Numbers Do You Need to Match?

To win the Lotto jackpot, you must match all six main numbers drawn. However, other prizes are offered for matching two numbers or more. The jackpot is shared between all players who match six numbers in the same draw, while all the other prizes are fixed amounts, so each player wins the prize amount stated. All available prizes are listed below:

Match Win*
6 numbers Jackpot
5 numbers + Bonus Ball £1 million
5 numbers £1,750
4 numbers £140
3 numbers £30
2 numbers Free Lucky Dip Ticket
The overall odds of winning are 1 in 9.3

In rare circumstances, the jackpot prize amount for each winner may fall below £1 million if there are multiple winners in the same draw. When this happens, the prize for each winner will be topped up to £1 million. For example, a £2 million jackpot split between four winners only works out at £500,000 each, so an additional £2 million would be added to the jackpot fund to top the individual prizes up to £1 million. The maximum amount that can be added to the jackpot fund in this way is £7 million, so in extremely rare circumstances, it may mean that jackpot winners receive less than £1 million each.

The Bonus Ball is the seventh ball selected in each draw and gives players who have matched five main numbers a chance to win the second-tier prize. It does not affect your chance of winning the jackpot or any other prize tiers. For more information on your chances of winning in each prize tier, visit the Lotto Odds page.

Lotto HotPicks

Although it uses the same winning numbers, HotPicks is not part of the main Lotto draw, so to play you must buy a separate ticket for £1. This exciting game lets you choose how many numbers you want to try and match, but you must match them all to win a prize. For example, if you buy a Match 4 entry, you only win anything if you match all four of the numbers you choose. You would not receive a prize for matching three or fewer numbers. Visit the HotPicks page for further details.

Ticket Sale Cutoff Times

Day Retailers Online Ticket Online Syndicate
Monday Dependent on individual opening hours 11.00pm Available all day
Tuesday Dependent on individual opening hours 11.00pm Available all day
Wednesday 7.30pm 7.30pm 7.45pm
Thursday Dependent on individual opening hours 11.00pm Available all day
Friday Dependent on individual opening hours 11.00pm Available all day
Saturday 7.30pm 7.30pm 7.45pm
Sunday Dependent on individual opening hours 11.00pm Available all day
On Wednesdays and Saturday ticket sales will reopen for the next draw at 9pm.

Claiming Prizes

How to claim a Lotto prize varies depending on which method you used to play. For example, if you are part of an online syndicate then winnings will be deposited directly into your player account. Go to the Claiming Prizes page for a guide on what to do to receive your payment.