UK Lotto

The UK Lotto is a twice-weekly draw from Great Britain, which has similar rules to the SA Lotto draw but some notable differences too.

Players pick six numbers from a pool of 1 to 59, just like our Lotto and there’s a bonus ball featured as well. Unlike our Lotto, the UK Lotto usually starts with a jackpot of over £1,000,000 compared to R 2,000,000.

The UK Lotto is run by the National Lottery which has operated since 1994 when an act of parliament in the UK made a national state-franchised lottery possible. Along with offering players the chance of instant riches, the National Lottery also funds good causes and charitable projects and organisations across Britain. One such contribution was the UK National Lottery’s £2,200,000,000 funding for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What can I expect to win?

The UK Lotto uses a pari-mutuel system for paying out all prizes except the match three prizes, which have a fixed £25 payout and match 2 prizes which give players another chance to become a millionaire. This means that the amount you win depends on how many tickets were sold for the draw and how many other players also won the same prize tier as you.

The record UK Lotto jackpot win was a mammoth £66,070646 prize that was shared between two lucky ticket holders in January 2016. The prize won by each winner was £33,035,323.

Numbers Matched Average Payouts (£) Odds of Winning
6 Jackpot 1 in 45,057,474
5 + Bonus Ball £50,000 1 in 7,509,579
5 £1,000 1 in 144,415
4 £100 1 in 2,180
3 £25 Fixed Prize 1 in 97
2 Free Lotto Lucky Dip 1 in 10.3

UK Lotto payouts – chances of winning

UK Lotto cash prizes start from £25 for matching three of the six main lottery balls drawn, up to a share of or all of the jackpot for matching all six main numbers.

For a regular draw, 45% of ticket revenue is allocated to the prize fund, just the same as the prize fund allocation for the South African Lotto draw. However, the overall average figure for the UK draw is nearer to 46% due to increased prize funds for special Superdraws that take place from time to time.

In comparison to other major lottery draws across the world, the UK Lotto has generously short odds of winning the jackpot. The chance of matching all six main lottery balls drawn and winning the jackpot is 1 in 45,057,474. Compare that to US Powerball (1 in 292,201,338), EuroMillions (1 in 116,531,800) or Mega Millions (1 in 258,890,850). You have to agree that your chances of winning the UK Lotto jackpot are better than most other big lottery draws. The overall chance of winning any prize while playing the UK Lotto is also good, coming in at a mere 1 in 9.3.

The prizes for the first four prize tiers are calculated using a percentage of the remaining prize pool after the fifth tier £25 winners’ prizes have been allocated. This means that if there are a lot of £25 winners in a particular draw, all other prizes will be proportionately smaller. Likewise, if there are fewer £25 winners than usual, the remaining prizes per tiers are likely to payout bigger prizes.

Winning the UK Lotto jackpot

In exactly the same way as the South African Lotto draw, the UK Lotto pays out its jackpot to any player or players who managed to match all six of the main lottery balls selected during the draw. The number of players to match all six numbers and win the UK Lotto jackpot can vary but it’s normally between 1 and 4 if the jackpot doesn’t rollover.

In October 2015 changes were introduced to the UK Lotto. Players now choose from a set of 59 balls instead of 49, increasing the odds of winning the jackpot to 45,057,474 to 1. Despite being more difficult to win the jackpot, it is now easier to win a prize with players receiving a Lucky Dip in the Millionaire Raffle every time they match two balls. This means that the chance of winning a prize is now 9.3 to 1 rather than 54 to 1.

Prior to changes in 2015, rollovers occurred once every three or four draws on average, double rollovers less often, triple rollovers occasionally and quadruple rollovers just once in the UK Lotto’s history. However, the rollover cap was scrapped after the rules changed and in conjunction with the increased jackpot odds this means that we are likely to see more and more record jackpots.