When you purchase a ticket for any UK National Lottery game, so that includes Lotto, EuroMillions, Thunderball and HotPicks, you have the option to choose your own numbers or get a Lucky Dip. This is a randomly-generated entry which the lottery terminal selects for you. The Health Lottery also offers a random number ticket option but it is called a Quick Pick rather than a Lucky Dip.
How Does it Work?
Lucky Dips use a pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) or deterministic random bit number generator (DRBNG), which is an algorithm that generates number sequences that are close to – but not exactly – random numbers. This is because these generators rely on specific formulas to create random-appearing numbers. However, these generators have become extremely good at approximating random lines and are regularly tested.
If you Match 2 numbers in Lotto then you win a free Lucky Dip ticket for a future draw! Find out How to Claim your free entry.
Are Lucky Dips Really Random?
A 2010 study by the Centre for the Study of Gambling at the University of Salford on the randomness of UK EuroMillions Lucky Dip entries concluded that there was no inherent selection bias in the numbers generated for customers. So yes, Lucky Dips are random! The PRNG used by Camelot does not recognise patterns or commit them to memory – it simply relies on a set formula to generate each line of numbers. Any similarities or sequential numbers found if you purchase multiple entries are just coincidental.
Your odds of of winning the lottery are exactly the same whichever kind of ticket you purchase - the only way to truly improve your chances is to buy more entries for each draw. However, there are still some advantages to Lucky Dips:
- Convenience - you don't have to spend time analysing number trends or looking for trends, just let the cashier know you'd like to buy a ticket and you're done!
- You're less likely to have to share the jackpot - when people choose their own numbers they often use important dates, which means if you hit the jackpot using birthdays and ages then it is more likely someone else will have matched all of the winning numbers too. Making sure you play with random numbers reduces the likelihood of this.
 Centre for the Study of Gambling, University of Salford, 2010. Randomness of EuroMillions Lucky Dip: a Report for the National Lottery Commission. Read the report.