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Why is There a Difference Between EuroMillions Prizes Across Europe?

Why is There a Difference Between EuroMillions Prizes Across Europe?
Updated: Tuesday 28th April 2020

EuroMillions prides itself on being able to offer players in nine participating countries the opportunity to win vast sums of money. However, it won’t have escaped the notice of EuroMillions fans that the UK does not trade in Euros, nor do Austria, Belgium, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland operate using the Pound. So why are the prizes on offer in Europe sometimes worth more than the exchange rate suggests they should be?

The Euro is the base unit of currency in EuroMillions. As the UK and Switzerland are the only nations that do not deal in Euros, the game’s jackpot total must be calculated using the current exchange rate, meaning the final figure can fluctuate. 

Non-Jackpot Prizes

However, the same rule does not apply to prizes in the lower tiers of the game, as any non-jackpot rewards are taken from a separate pari-mutuel prize pool, funded by a slice of the ticket price in each country. This is divided up based on players’ contributions, rather than by using a direct currency conversion.

The cost of a UK EuroMillions ticket may be £2.50, but that can be broken down to a cost of £1.65 to play the main game and 85p to take part in Millionaire Maker, a draw which is exclusive to UK ticket holders. Euro countries pay €2.20 for the main game and then varying amounts in addition for their supplementary games.

The current rate of exchange shows that the value of £1.65 is equivalent to €1.86. As this is some way from the €2.20 contributed by other nations, prizes in the UK are shifted to compensate for the gap. This may seem unfair but, when the Pound is strong, the reverse happens and UK players win more than a straight exchange from Euros would bring.

Bigger UK Jackpots

The Pound has risen and fallen many times since the game first launched, but the biggest blow of all came in 2016 following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. However, this economic downturn can be viewed as a positive for UK EuroMillions fans eyeing up the jackpot, as that is a direct exchange, and you receive more Pounds to the Euro when Sterling is weak.

A good example of this is seen in Friday’s jackpot, which stands at €153 million and converts to £136 million. In November 2015, the Euro jackpot reached €163.5 million - more than Friday’s - but that would only have returned £114.8 million for a UK player - much lower than the award on offer this week.

The Pound’s fluctuation really hit home in August 2012 when Adrian and Gillian Bayford landed a sum of £148.6 million. The Suffolk couple became the first players to secure a maximum jackpot of €190 million, however, the sum they received in sterling was significantly lower than that collected by Colin and Chris Weir in July 2011. The Ayrshire pair benefited from a favourable exchange rate to walk away with £161.6 million, an amount that, at the time, was worth just €185 million.

Win EuroMillions Prizes

Now you know how EuroMillions prizes are calculated in the Pounds and Euros, why not join the fun by picking your numbers online. Good luck!

Published: Wednesday 20th September 2017

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