If you enjoy playing the lottery, the UK has a variety of games to choose from. Draws are typically held twice per week for each game, and jackpots can be as high as £170m. Before playing any lottery in the UK, it’s important to understand the rules, the odds and how to play.
National Lottery Games
When Brits talk about the national UK lottery, they’re usually referring to Lotto. Formerly known as the UK National Lottery, Lotto draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:05 pm. It’s the most popular British lottery.
How to play the National Lottery
If you’re new to UK lottery games, you may be asking: how can I play Lotto in the UK? The game is simple:
- Choose six numbers from 1-59, or
- Choose Lucky Dip, which provides six random numbers
Each slip can have up to seven lines, with each line costing £2. Players can buy up to 10 slips at a time.
Lotto tickets can be purchased any day of the week from local stores or online. Tickets must be purchased before 7:30 pm on the night of the draw. British lottery results can be found online.
How to Win
- Match 6 to win the jackpot
- Match 5 and the bonus number to win £20,000
- Match 5 main numbers to win £1,000
- Match 4 to win £1,00
- Match 3 to win £25
Matching two numbers will get you a Lotto Lucky Dip.
Another popular English lottery is the Thunderball. Draws are held three times a week: Saturday, Wednesday and Friday. Tickets cost just £1, and they can be purchased online or from a local retailer. Players can buy up to ten slips at a time, and each slip can have up to seven lines of numbers.
How to Play Thunderball
- Choose five main numbers between 1 and 39
- Choose one Thunderball number between 1 and 14
How to Win
- Match 5 and the Thunderball: £500,000
- Match 5 (main numbers): £5,000
- Match 4 and the Thunderball: £250
- Match 4 (main numbers): £100
- Match 3 and the Thunderball: £20
- Match 3 (main numbers): £10
- Match 2 and the Thunderball: £10
- Match 1 and the Thunderball: £5
- Match the Thunderball: £3
Although HotPicks is a separate game, it relies on the main Lotto drawings for its numbers. What sets this lottery game apart is that players can select their own numbers and the number of draw balls that they want to match (up to five). However, with HotPicks, the Lotto bonus does not apply. No matter how many numbers you choose to play, the cost is £1.
Drawings are held every Saturday and Wednesday.
How to Play Lotto HotPicks
Choose between 1 and 5 numbers (Pick 1, Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4 or Pick 5)
How to Win
- Match 1 number: £6
- Match 2 numbers: £60
- Match 3 numbers: £800
- Match 4 numbers: £13,000
- Match 5 numbers: £350,000
In order to win, you must match all of the numbers. For example, with Pick 5, you must match all five numbers to win. With Pick 1, you must match that number in order to win.
Set for Life
Introduced in 2019, Set for Life is a different type of lottery game. Instead of one big jackpot, players are paid £10,000 a month every month for thirty years. Draws are held every Thursday and Monday. Each line is £1.50.
How to Play Set for Life
- Choose between five main numbers (1-47)
- Choose one Life Ball (1-10)
How to Win
- Match 5 and the Life Ball: £10,000 a month for 30 years
- Match 5 numbers: £10,000 a month for 12 months
- Match 4 and the Life Ball: £250
- Match 4 numbers: £50
- Match 3 and the Life Ball: £30
- Match 3 numbers: £20
- Match 2 and the Life Ball: £10
- Match 2 numbers: £5
Launched in 2004, EuroMillions lottery offers an impressive jackpot because so many countries are involved, including: the UK, Sprain, France, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Ireland, Switzerland and Portugal.
Draws are performed in Paris Tuesday and Fridays. The cost is £2.5 per line.
How to Play EuroMillions
- Choose five numbers between 1 and 50
- Choose two Lucky Star numbers between 1 and 12
How to Win
- Match 5 and two Lucky Star numbers to win the jackpot
- Match 5 and one Lucky Star number for expected winnings of £169,001
- Match 5 and no Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £17,555
- Match 4 and two Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £1,094
- Match 4 and one Lucky Star number for expected winnings of £101
- Match 4 and no Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £33
- Match 3 and two Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £48
- Match 3 and one Lucky Star number for expected winnings of £9
- Match 3 and no Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £8
- Match 2 and two Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £12
- Match 2 and one Lucky Star number for expected winnings of £5
- Match 2 and no Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £3
- Match 1 and two Lucky Star numbers for expected winnings of £6
Which UK Lottery Has the Best Chance of Winning?
Which lottery is the easiest to win in the UK? If you’re playing the lottery in the UK, your goal is to win. There’s never a guarantee that you will win any lottery, but some games have better odds than others.
In terms of jackpot, the game with the best odds is Thunderball. The odds of winning the Thunderball jackpot are 1 in 8,060,598.
Odds of winning the jackpot with other games are as follows:
- Set for Life: 1 in 15,339,390
- Lotto: 1 in 45,057,474
- EuroMillions: 1 in 139,838,160
How to Play the Lottery in the UK
There are two ways to play the lottery in the UK:
- Buy a ticket online
- Buy a ticket from a local retailer
To buy a ticket online, you will need to create an account on the National Lottery’s official website. From your account dashboard, you can purchase tickets and check results of games. Only UK residents can create an account and purchase tickets this way.