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What Will a No-Deal Brexit Mean for EuroMillions?

What Will a No-Deal Brexit Mean for EuroMillions?
Updated: Wednesday 16th January 2019

After government ministers voted overwhelmingly against Theresa May’s Brexit bill, the possibility of exiting the European Union with no deal is bigger than ever. But what would this mean for EuroMillions and its players in the UK?

EuroMillions Will Still Be Available

The good news is that EuroMillions will still be available to play in the UK after Brexit, regardless of whether a deal is secured or not, as participation in the game isn’t dependent on EU membership. Switzerland is one of the current participants of EuroMillions but isn’t a member of the EU.

The game is independently run by the national lottery of each country. In the UK, Camelot currently holds the license to operate the lottery, and while the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport oversees various aspects of its operation, the lottery is not subject to EU laws or regulations.

Brexit will affect the prize money paid out in the UK, however. In fact, it already has.

Bigger Jackpots

There’s nothing in the now-rejected Brexit deal dictating how much money goes to UK EuroMillions players. As we’ve already noted, the UK National Lottery is not subject to EU oversight. Prize money will change simply because UK payouts are largely influenced by euro-sterling exchange rates.

The base currency of EuroMillions is the euro, as seven of the nine participating countries use it. Therefore, whenever a jackpot is won in the UK, the prize money has to be converted to sterling according to the exchange rates on the day of the draw. This means that a fall in the value of the pound against the euro creates bigger jackpot payouts for UK players.

Prior to the referendum to leave the EU in June 2016, €1 was worth around £0.78, so a jackpot of €100 million would have been worth approximately £78 million. After Parliament’s meaningful vote on the Brexit bill on 15th January 2019, €1 was worth £0.89, so that same jackpot would be worth over £89 million. Jackpot winners in the UK will see even bigger benefits if the value of the pound drops further.

Lower Prizes

Brexit may mean bad news for non-jackpot prize winners, however. Other prizes are worked out slightly differently to the jackpot and are not converted directly from euros to sterling.

Every participating EuroMillions country contributes to a shared fund, which is mainly used to pay out prizes. Countries that use the euro contribute €2.20 from the sale of every EuroMillions ticket to this fund. The UK contributes £1.65 from every ticket sale to the fund, which by current exchange rates works out at around €1.85, much lower than the contribution made by other countries.

To keep it fair, non-jackpot prizes paid out to UK players are lowered to compensate for the smaller contribution the UK makes to the shared fund. The payouts for the same prize will therefore be different in pounds and euros, and will not directly match up with the exchange rate between the two currencies.

If the pound gets weaker against the euro (£1 is worth fewer euros), this difference will increase, and if it gets stronger (£1 is worth more euros) the reverse will happen and UK payouts will more closely match those of other countries.

So no matter what shape Brexit ends up taking, players in the UK will still be able to take part in EuroMillions, either online or in store, and should not notice any difference in playing the game. The amount of money up for grabs may change, though, which would mean good news for big winners but not such good news for others.

Published: Wednesday 16th January 2019

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