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All you need to know about Lotto

THE ONE. THE ONLY. THE ORIGINAL.

Saturday nights changed forever when Lotto was introduced back in 1994. Since then, it’s become the nation’s favourite game – played by millions in towns and cities across the country. Today, it’s as popular as ever, with thousands winning prizes in every game. As far as lotteries go, Lotto is the real McCoy.

So how do you play?

Pick 6 numbers from 1–59 or go with a Lucky Dip ® for randomly selected numbers.

You can play up to 7 lines of numbers on each play slip and buy up to 10 slips at a time.

Choose to play on Wednesday or Saturday – or both, and then the number of weeks you’d like to play.

You’re good to go!

You can buy Lotto tickets online every day from 6am until 11pm. But remember, to play on a draw day, you’ll need to buy your ticket before 7.30pm.

Good to know.

Draw Days

Play every Wednesday and Saturday.

If You Win.

We’ll email you with the good news!

Play in Advance

Save time and play continuously by Direct Debit.

SEE WHAT YOU CAN WIN Δ

Look out for those rolldowns

Lotto can only Rollover 5 times. The 5th Rollover is a Must Be Won draw.

  • Starting
    Jackpot
  • Rollover
  • Double
    rollover
  • Triple
    rollover
  • Quadruple
    rollover
  • Must be won! ! –>

Jackpot Rolldown –>

In a Lotto Must Be Won draw where no one wins the jackpot by matching 6 main numbers, there’s a Rolldown. This means the jackpot is shared by players matching 2 or more main numbers, so thousands can expect to win a boosted cash prize! [1]

Lotto Rolldown enhancements are effective from the 7th November 2020 draw. See more information on these changes. [1]If the jackpot is not won in a Must Be Won draw, match 2 winners will each receive £5 in addition to their Lotto Lucky Dip. The remaining jackpot will be allocated to all other winning prize tiers in set percentages. More information about Rolldowns are included in the Lotto Game Procedures

Different ways to check results

Check on the go

Use our App on your mobile to see if you’ve won. You can also scan paper tickets for instant results. Get it on Google Play or the App Store.

Here on the web

All results are published here on the website every Wednesday and Saturday from around 9.30pm.

Watch the draw live

Watch all Lotto draws first on our website or YouTube channel at 8pm every Wednesday and 7.45pm every Saturday.

Want to know more?

What are the average jackpots, compared with the previous game?

Base jackpots on Lotto are £2 million on a Wednesday (up from £1.8 million previously) and £3.8 million on a Saturday (up from £3.1 million previously).

The jackpot grows as it rolls, and we expect Must-Be-Won draws to be around £11 million on a Wednesday and £12 million on a Saturday.

As the jackpot is now only allowed to roll five times under the new format (compared with the previous rules where it rolled up to £22 million), the jackpot will be won more often.

How does a Rolldown work?

Lotto Rolldown enhancements are effective from the 7th November draw. Find out more.

Whenever there’s a Lotto Must Be Won draw and no one wins the jackpot by matching 6 main numbers, there’s a Rolldown. This means the jackpot is shared across other prize tiers where players match 2 or more main numbers, so thousands can expect to win a boosted cash prize.

Players matching 2 main numbers in a Rolldown will each receive a £5 cash prize in addition to their usual free Lucky Dip ® . The remaining jackpot prize fund will then be allocated (in set percentages) to the other winning prize tiers and shared amongst those winners.

For details of the Rolldown mechanic, see the Lotto Game Procedures.

What are the odds?

The odds remain the same as they were previously, but the jackpot will be won more often because it is now only allowed to roll over five times (previously it rolled up to £22 million).

Why did you not change the price or number of balls?

Sales of the old £1, ‘6 from 49’ game had been falling for a long time. As a result, so had the amount of money it was raising for Good Causes, which is ultimately what we’re here for.

Secondly, in 2015, we didn’t just add 10 extra balls – there were a number of other changes (for example, the ‘Millionaire Raffle’ and a free Lotto Lucky Dip® ticket for matching two main numbers). If we make a change to one part of the game, we have to consider the knock-on effects that would happen in other parts of the game. We need to look at the game in its entirety.

We’ve listened to what people (players, non-players and retailers) have told us and what they want from Lotto in the future – jackpots that will be won more often, with bigger cash prizes at the other levels. We believe that the improvements we’ve made will do just that.

Where has the money from the raffle gone?

All of the money has gone into the main draw.

We’ve listened to feedback and responded by taking Lotto back to its roots: focusing on the main draw and bigger, fixed prizes – so players will know exactly what they will win.

In addition, the jackpot will be won more often, the prize fund will be more fairly shared across all levels and we’ve added a new £1 million prize for matching 5+Bonus Ball (up from around £50,000 previously).

Have these changes impacted Lotto HotPicks?

There have been no changes to Lotto HotPicks prizes as a result of these changes – the new prize amounts apply to Lotto only.

The only change is that you can now only play Lotto HotPicks 4 weeks in advance.

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Important
information

  • Online Game Procedures
  • Rules for Draw-Based Games Played Online
  • Online Direct Debit Guide

Playing in
store

  • Players’ Guide
  • Lotto Retail Game Procedures
  • Rules For Draw-Based Games Played at Retailers

Results and
Draws

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  • Watch the latest draw
  • How to claim a prize

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    Find out all you need to know about playing the nation's favourite lottery game, Lotto.

    What are your chances of winning on a UK Lottery Jackpot Rolldown?

    Previous title: “UK National Lottery: How does a Jackpot Rolldown affect the odds?”

    Does this special lotto roll down event mean it’s time to play the lottery? Let’s break out the updated chances to find out.

    What is a UK Nattional Lottery Jackpot Roll Down?

    Tomorrow in the UK we have a special case of the National Lottery (lotto) called a Jackpot Rolldown. This means that if nobody wins the jackpot (matching 6 numbers) the entire 12.8M jackpot will be shared between all other winners.

    If no one matches all 6 main numbers in a Must Be Won draw, the Jackpot will be shared by all cash winners, so they’ll win an even bigger prize.

    For example, that could mean winning £100 for matching 3 main numbers instead of £30!

    I’m interested to see how this affects the expected value aka how much you gain each time you play. For example, Roulette has an expected value of 0.947% (on red/black) so for every £1.00 spent you can expect to receive £0.95 back.

    Jump to the bottom to skip the stats.

    Assumptions

    • Nobody wins the jackpot (including us on the rolldown).
    • The payout on Match 3 is exactly £100.
    • All ‘Free lucky dips’ lose or win after one more draw.
    • Free lucky dips can win the jackpot and it’s the same value.
    • Lottery costs £2 to play.
    • Don’t have to share prizes (essentially everyone else enters but loses).
    • My statistics skills can handle this and I haven’t made a mistake.

    Gathering the data

    From the marketing material we can gather values that are relevant for tomorrows game:

    • Jackpot is £12,800,000 (12.8M).
    • Match 3 will get you £100 rather than the £30.

    We need to gather more data from the depths of the lottery procedures page, giving us the following table.

    Prize Categories Approximate Odds of Winning Prize Jack Pot Rolldown
    Match 6 / Jackpot 0.0000000221938762 Jackpot N/A
    Match 5 + Bonus Ball 0.0000001331632572 £1,000,000 3%
    Match 5 0.000006924488453 £1,750 6%
    Match 4 0.0004587155963 £140 17%
    Match 3 0.0103950104 £30 74%
    Match 2 0.09708737864 Free Lucky Dip N/A

    Calculating the new prizes

    We can work out the other roledowns total prize pool by assigning that percent of the jackpot to the each of the possible rolldowns. However, to work out how much this increases each individual prize we need to estimate how many people we expect to win each prize.

    Therefore, we need to estimate how many tickets will be sold. This can be done by using the size of the prize pool for Match 3 and the £70 increase of the usual prize value.

    With this calculated, just use the chance of winning to estimate how many people will be sharing the prize pot and how much that increases their prize:

    Prize Categories Total Rolldown Prize Increase Total Prize
    Match 5* + Bonus Ball 384000 221527.728 £1,221,528
    Match 5* 768000 8520.298365 £10,270
    Match 4* 2176000 364.4153509 £504
    Match 3* 9472000 70 £100

    Lucky Dip

    The lucky dip allows us to play again in the next draw with random numbers. We can just use the expected value of regular draw for calculating this. Reducing it by the fact that we need to win a lucky dip on the initial draw first.

    Expected value

    The expected value is made up of two parts the winnings that you expect to win minus the wager required you expect to lose.

    For the roulette example this is:

    For the lottery we can do this for each prize type, then sum them to get the overall positive value. We can also calculate the cost of playing the game and the chance that we will lose.

    Should you play?

    It seems overall, we have (remember it costs £2 to play):

    Draw Expected Return
    Rolldown (no jackpot) £1.80
    Regular (or rolldown with claimed jackpot) £1.10

    These values seem sensible to me as they say that about 50% of the value of the ticket are paid out as prizes.

    At about 15.5M the expected return turn positive (assuming everything else stays the same). Maybe this is why they have rolldowns to stop this from happening even though it would be a good story.

    This means that a rolldown (with all the assumptions) would have slightly better odds than the roulette table. Ignoring the fact that with this amount of entries we should expect a 29% chance that someone wins.

    As other people are likely to share our numbers and therefore prizes these results would get worse.

    It seems like once again the roulette table has won, it seems you really can’t beat the house.

    Resources

    There are likely errors in these calculations feel free to point them out. You can find the spreadsheet I used here.

    Previous title: “UK National Lottery: How does a Jackpot Rolldown affect the odds?” ]]>