For the better part of three-hundred years, all national lotteries were illegal in the United Kingdom unless otherwise indicated in the relevant statute. In fact, this law applied to all lotteries, regardless of their geographical scope, until changes in legislation in the 50s and 70s.
It was only in 1993 that then UK Prime Minister John Major authorised the establishment of the first modern state-franchised lotto UK under government licence. Since then, the National Lotto UK has grown into one of the largest of its kind in the world, with six different games and inclusion in the pan-European transnational lottery, EuroMillions.
In addition, other nationwide lotteries have also since been launched and players in the UK may also participate indirectly in lotteries in other countries, thereby greatly increasing the selection of competitions available to them.
Here is a brief summary of the major lotto UK options:
The Lotto UK National Lottery
As mentioned, the lotto UK National Lottery was the first and remains the largest nationwide lottery game in the United Kingdom. This lotto UK is franchised to the Camelot Group and, as of 1999, also includes the Isle of Man.
It is comprised of six different games – Lotto, Lotto Hotpicks, Thunderball, UK Millionaire Maker, scratch cards and instant online competitions, and the Lotto Raffle. Tickets for these lotto UK games can be purchased by UK citizens aged 16 and older from approved online or land-based retailers. These days, non-UK-residents may also get in on the action by placing wagers on the outcome of the lotto UK national draw for an almost identical experience and equivalent wins.
Lotto, the primary game in the lotto UK stable involves a six-from-59-balls main draw plus an additional draw of a single bonus ball. In order to receive payouts, players must accurately predict at least three of the winning numbers. Those who are able to do this for all five main balls will take the top prizes, with their correct prediction of the bonus ball pushing them toward the ultimate jackpot. These lotto UK draws take place biweekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays and are nationally televised.
Lotto operates according to a limited rollover system whereby the jackpot increases after each draw if no one guesses the winning numbers but is capped when it reaches £50 000. The jackpot will then remain at £50 000 for two draws and, if no one wins the second draw, the money will be distributed amongst the players on the next winning prize tier.
UK Lotto Millionaire Maker and EuroMillions
UK Millionaire Maker actually falls under the EuroMillions banner. EuroMillions is a collaboration between the national lotteries of several European countries, including the UK National Lottery.
Like the national lotto UK, EuroMillions has a limited rollover – this time capped at €190 million. In addition, every UK player who purchases a EuroMillions ticket is automatically entered into the UK Millionaire Maker raffle.
The People’s Postcode Lottery
A younger and more unique lotto UK players enjoy is the People’s Postcode Lottery. This subscription-based lottery sees players paying a nominal monthly fee to enter their postal addresses into daily, weekly and monthly draws for cash and other prizes.
The Health Lottery
The third and final national lotto UK citizens can play is the Health Lottery. Unlike those just described, this lotto UK has fixed prize tiers, with the jackpot set at £100 000. The Health Lottery is used to raise funds for health-related charities and tickets can be purchased at over 32 000 online and land-based retailers.