national lottery facts featuredThe UK national lottery has created thousands of millionaires across the UK. This is just the start of the many fun and interesting National Lottery statistics. From the highest jackpot to the odds of winning, we cover the most important facts and figures about The National Lottery.

When Did the Lottery Start in the UK?

The first National Lottery draw was held on 19th November 1994.

From 1698 through 1934, lotteries were largely prohibited, unless authorised by statute. The Bank of England held a lotto to raise money for good causes and to fund war efforts. But it wasn’t until 1934 that small lotteries began to be legalised. In 1956 and 1976, lotteries were further liberalised.

In the late 1980s, the idea of a National Health Service Lottery was floated, but it was cancelled before the first draw.

Finally, in 1993, under the government of John Major, a state-franchised lotto was created. Camelot Group was awarded the National Lottery franchise in 1994. The first draw took place later that year. The draw was televised, with Noel Edmonds presenting.

The very first winning numbers were:

Who won the lottery the first time?

There were seven jackpot winners that shared the £5,874,778 prize.

In 1999, lotto tickets became available on the Isle of Man. That same year, a second lottery draw was introduced: Thunderball.

Today, there are several games available through the National Lottery, including EuroMillions, Set for Life, Lotto and more.

The National Lottery history, and the lotto UK history in general, is short, but it remains as one of the most popular games in Britain. Prizes are entirely tax-free, and they are paid in a single lump sum.

A quarter of the money spent on lotto tickets is put towards “good causes,” as determined by Parliament. In 2019, the money was distributed as follows:

The National Lottery is regulated by the Gambling Commission.

How Many People Play the Lottery?

At one time, an estimated 46% of people in the UK were playing the lottery. That figure has since declined to 32% in 2016. Higher ticket costs and decreased odds of winning have had a detrimental effect on lottery participation.

The National Lottery added ten numbers to choose from, increasing the number of balls to 59. The move slashed the odds of winning from 14 million to one to 45 million to one.

While fewer people may be playing the lottery, the ones that do play are spending more money on tickets. In 2015, National Lottery sales hit a record of £7.6bn. In 2019, sales were £7.2bn, and more than £3bn of that was paid back to players.

How Many Lottery Tickets are Sold Each Week?

An estimated 15-45 million tickets are sold each lottery draw in the UK.

How Many Numbers in the UK Lottery?

Numbers vary depending on the game:

What Happens When You Win the Lottery?

Winning the lottery is exciting, and there’s a long list of British lottery winners. But matching numbers is only the first step. What comes next?

  1. Call Camelot. The number is listed on the back of the ticket and on their website. You will speak to a live operator (lines are open until 11pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays) who will confirm your winning numbers.
  2. At this stage, your ticket isn’t validated, but you will be asked to list your name and address on the back of your ticket to declare that it’s yours.
  3. Next, you will book an appointment to meet with the Winners’ Advisors. They are responsible for validating tickets and paying out winnings. Most appointments take place in the winner’s home and usually lasts about two hours.

Here’s what happens during the meeting:

The transfer may go through in a matter of just a few hours.

How Many People Have Won the Lottery?

According to lottery winners statistics, The National Lottery has created more than 5,700 millionaires across the UK. More than 20,000 more have won £50,000 or more from the lottery.

Biggest UK Lottery Winners

The National Lottery has produced quite a few big lottery winners. According to historic lotto results, some of the biggest National Lottery winners include:

Has Anyone Won the Lottery Twice?

Yes, there are some people who have won the lottery twice in the UK.

Lottery Winners Success Stories

There have been thousands of UK lottery winners since the first draw in 1994. One of the most successful lottery winner stories is Elaine Thompson and her husband Derek.

The couple won £2.7million in 1995. They were the 53rd winners of the UK’s National Lottery. Today, they are still living off of their winnings and now advise other lotto winners.

Which UK National Lottery Game Has the Best Odds?

The National Lottery Game that has the best odds of winning is Thunderball, with odds of 1 in 8,060,598.

Most Common Lottery Numbers UK?

The most common winning lottery numbers, according to UK lottery results history, are: 41, 14, 29, 8, 42, 23, 11.

What’s the most common bonus ball?

42. The number has appeared more than 14 times and on more occasions than any other bonus ball number.

The UK National Lottery continues to attract millions of players each week, all looking to scoop up the big prize. In the future, we may see even bigger jackpot winners and other fun and interesting facts to share.

Harry Burth
Digital Marketing Manager, Blog editor

Harry has been working on this project for quite a while. After moving from Liverpool to London to find a better job, he worked as a croupier in Empire Casino. Having studied the niche and gained some proper experience, he applied to an opening in our project and found himself as a Marketer in CasinoHEX UK.

He has soon grown into a Project Manager and now is also sharing his knowledge of gambling in our blog. Make sure to stop by and check the latest posts!


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