National Lottery LottoLotto offered by the The National Lottery is a state-franchised national lottery in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man. The Lotto is franchised by the government to the private opertor Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, and regulated by the National Lottery Commission.

Lotto is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man. During a normal week, over 30 million tickets are sold for the Saturday draw and approximately 18 million tickets for the Wednesday draw.

Participating in the Lotto

A Lotto ticket will have six different numbers on it, within the 1 – 49 span. You can pick your numbers manually or let them be randomly generated for you (a so called “Lucky Dip”).

When Lotto was first launched, playing cost £1 per board. On October 3, 2013, the prize was increased to £2 per board. At the same time, the prizes were restructured to promote larger jackpots.

The draw

49 balls numbered 1 – 49 are used for the draw. From among these balls, six balls are drawn. After that, a final Bonus Ball is drawn.

Draws are carried out on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If Wednesday or Saturday happens to be Christmas Day, that draw is moved to Christmas Eve instead.

All draws are broadcast live by BBC One.

The draw machines

The draw machines currently in use are the ones that replaced the old draw machines in November 2009. The machines are named Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Merlin. All four machines are the Magnum II model, manufactured by Smartplay International Inc.


To win something, your lotto line must match at least three of the six drawn numbers.

To win the jackpot, your lotto line must match all six of the drawn numbers. If several lottery tickets match the six numbers, the jackpot is shared between these tickets. The chance of your six number line matching the drawn six number line is 1 in 13,983,816.

Matching numbers


Match 6

The jackpot

Match 5 + Bonus Ball


Match 5


Match 4


Match 3


Division of funds left after paying 3-ball winners

Matching numbers % of prize fund Odds of winning
6 numbers 66.4% 13,983,815 to 1
5 numbers + bonus ball 5.3% 2,330,635 to 1
5 numbers 4.5% 55,490 to 1
4 numbers 23.8% 1,031 to 1

Rollover jackpot

lottoIf no ticket wins the jackpot, the jackpot money is rolled over into the jackpot for the next Lotto draw.

Until February 10, 2011, no more than three consecutive rollovers were allowed. Since then, four consecutive rollovers are permitted. The first quadruple rollover draw took place on September 29, 2012 with a £19.5 million jackpot.

If four rollovers have taken place, and no one gets six matching numbers in the draw, the jackpot money will be shared among the tickets with five matching numbers + a matching bonus ball.


  • Lotto has its roots in The National Lottery, which was launched back in 1994. Today, Lotto is just one of many gambling products offered under the The National Lottery brand (e.g. Thunderball, Lotto Hotpicks and National Lottery Scratchcards). The name Lotto has been used since 2002, when the lottery was revamped to counteract dwindling ticket sales.
  • The first Saturday draw took place on November 19, 1994.
  • The first Wednesday draw took place on February 5, 1997.
  • At the request of Tynwald, Lotto tickets first became available on Isle of Man on December 2, 1999.

Notable wins

  • On January 6, 1996, three tickets shared a jackpot comprised of £42,008,610. All three winners elected to remain anonymous. They each received £14,002,870.
  • On June 10, 1995, a single ticket won a jackpot comprised of £22,590,829. The winning ticket was owned by Paul Maddison and Mark Gardiner, two double-glazing businessmen from St Leonards-on-Sea, who had purchased the ticket together.