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What are the National Lottery’s Plans Amid Coronavirus Outbreak?

What are the National Lottery’s Plans Amid Coronavirus Outbreak?
Updated: Tuesday 30th January 2024

The coronavirus pandemic is changing how people in the UK go about their daily routines, with virtually all aspects of life affected in some way. Learn what the National Lottery is planning to do and whether the games you play are set to change at all.

Draws To Continue

National Lottery operator Camelot has assured players that draws will continue as scheduled. This includes Lotto, Thunderball, Set For Life and even EuroMillions, which is drawn in France. Learn more about the impact of coronavirus on lotteries and find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

It has not been business as usual for Camelot so far, though, as its head office in Watford had to shut its doors for a few days after an employee was diagnosed with Covid-19 following a recent trip to Thailand.

A spokesperson later issued this update on the situation: “We have now re-opened the office to business-critical employees and have asked those who are able to work from home to do so for the remainder of this week."

“Please rest assured that The National Lottery will continue to operate as normal and draws will happen as planned."

“We will continue to speak to the relevant authorities to determine next steps. We are advising colleagues who had direct contact with the affected employee to seek medical advice via NHS 111, and to contact their manager if they begin to feel unwell."

“Our priority is the health of our employees and we are keeping them fully informed of developments, as well as providing them with advice in relation to coronavirus.”

Limited Advance Play on EuroMillions

The one major change so far announced by the National Lottery is a limit on entering EuroMillions draws in advance. You can now only play up to Tuesday 14th April, so the number of weeks you can play in advance will reduce each week.

The limit has been brought in due to the uncertainty over future EuroMillions draws. While the National Lottery is confident at this stage that games based in the UK can be guaranteed to go ahead as scheduled in the current climate, it cannot be so sure that the EuroMillions draws in France will continue.

As EuroMillions HotPicks uses the winning numbers from EuroMillions draws, the same limits have been applied to advance sales of HotPicks.

Funding Plans Will Be Flexible

The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) is set to be flexible with its plans during the coronavirus crisis as it wants to help as many projects as it can. Many organisations are likely to come under financial pressure and the NLCF does not want anyone to have to worry about hitting deadlines.

The NLCF is also determined that recipients of grants will be still be able to pay staff salaries in full, even if workers have to take time off to recover from illness or care for others.

“We know that many charities and community organisations across the UK are facing increasing challenges as a result of Covid-19 and we want to support those we fund as far as is possible at this difficult time,” said Dawn Austwick, chief executive of the NLCF. 

“We have already started to shift application deadlines for some of our funds that were due to close soon. We also want to be flexible where grant-holders get into difficulty or see problems on the way."

“We are, however, in uncharted territory. Things will occur that we hadn’t expected and we will get things wrong. Please bear with us if we do, let us know, and we will be as helpful as possible as the situation unfolds.”

The National Lottery raises around £30 million a week for good causes and the NLCF is considering how else it can support people and communities who are affected by the outbreak.

Published: Friday 20th March 2020

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