The UK Lotto is the main game in the UK's National Lottery line-up and boasts some of the biggest prizes in the UK. The lottery is drawn twice a week and starting jackpots vary, with Wednesday’s an estimated £2.5 million and Saturday’s top prize an estimated £5 million. However, like many of the world lotteries, the jackpot can roll over to the next draw if no player successfully scoops the top prize which means there can be even bigger amounts on offer.

The winning numbers are available on the Lotto results page minutes after the draw has taken place, with a detailed prize breakdown available shortly afterwards. Wednesday’s numbers are drawn at approximately 21:00 GMT and Saturday’s results, are televised on the BBC as part of an entertainment show are drawn at approximately 20:30 GMT.

  Next Estimated Jackpot:    £4,100,000
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Lotto Jackpots and Prize Breakdowns

The National Lottery began in 1994 with one Saturday draw. The midweek draw was added in 1997 and in 2002 the game was rebranded to become the UK Lotto. In October 2013 the Lotto saw some of the biggest changes in its history, including increased jackpots, alterations to the distribution of the secondary prize tiers and the introduction of a new Lotto Raffle.

The UK Lotto has a 6/49 matrix with five prize tiers. To hit the jackpot you need to match all six numbers drawn, but if no player manages to do this, the top prize will roll over to the next draw. As of February 2011, lottery rules were revised so that the Lotto jackpot can only roll over a maximum of four times. If nobody matches the six main numbers by the fifth draw, the jackpot prize will roll down to the next winning prize tier.

As well as the jackpot there are a further four prize tiers. An extra Bonus Ball is drawn after the first six numbers which enables players who have matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball to win a bigger prize. The lowest prize tier from Lotto is awarded for matching three main numbers and is the only prize tier not to be affected by ticket sales. When allocating prizes, all Match 3 prizes are paid out first and then the remainder of the prize fund is divided accordingly.

Odds of Winning and Prize Payout

Matched Numbers Odds Of Winning Average Prize
6 main numbers 1 in 13,983,815 Jackpot (Estimated £2.5 million Wednesday; estimated £5 million Saturday)
5 main numbers + 1 bonus 1 in 2,330,635 £50,000 (estimated)
5 main numbers 1 in 55,490 £1,000 (estimated)
4 main numbers 1 in 1,031 £100
3 main numbers 1 in 56 £25

All prizes must be claimed within 180 days of the draw date: if players do not claim within this time, their winnings will be forfeit and donated to the UK Lotto Good Causes fund.

Around 28% of all ticket sales revenue goes to the Good Causes fund and at time of writing over £30 billion has been raised. Roughly 50% of that figure goes to health, environment, education and charities, with the remainder divided up between sport, heritage and the arts. To date, the UK Lotto has created more than 3,300 millionaires and given away nearly £50 billion in prizes.

Meet the Machines

Prior to every UK Lotto draw, a guest celebrity or member of the public will choose one ball machine to randomly select the winning numbers, as well as which set of 49 balls to use (there are 14 sets). Most of the machines are either named after heroes from Arthurian legend or gemstones – some players think certain machines are luckier than others although there is no evidence to support this! There are 13 machines in total, with the most commonly used devices being Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere.

Lotto Raffle

The Lotto Raffle was introduced in October 2013 as a side-game to the main Lotto game. Every line of numbers you purchase for the UK Lotto includes one raffle entry for the chance to win one of 50 guaranteed prizes of £20,000.

To read more about the Lotto Raffle, click here.

49 to 1

49 to 1 was launched in September 2013 as a televised game offering lottery players the chance to win cash prizes of up to £50,000. Players usually have around a week to register for the game, which is played alongside a specific UK Lotto draw. The participants who are chosen to play will be assigned a number from 1 to 49, and should their number be picked in the draw they will win a cash prize. Read more about 49 to 1 here.

Lotto HotPicks

With Lotto HotPicks, players can win bigger prizes for picking and matching numbers which are chosen in the Lotto draw. HotPicks is not an independent draw game, rather it is a side-game played alongside the UK Lotto for an additional fee. Learn more about Lotto HotPicks by visiting the dedicated page.

Lotto Plus 5

The Lotto Plus 5 game was discontinued in October 2013 to make room for the new Lotto Raffle. Like HotPicks, it was played alongside the main UK Lotto game. For an extra fee players could enter their Lotto numbers into additional daily draws which could see them win up to £250,000 per day.

To read about Lotto Plus 5 or to view results up to its final draw on Tuesday 1st October 2013 visit the Lotto Plus 5 Results page.

Buy tickets online

Buying lottery tickets online is quick, straightforward and secure. It eliminates the necessity of standing in queues at the newsagents and means you never have to worry about missing out on a prize again.

As your ticket is purchased electronically, there is no way you can lose your ticket or throw it away accidentally. Better yet, your numbers are securely stored and automatically checked against the winning numbers, which means you are automatically informed if you have won a prize. With millions of pounds in prizes unclaimed every year, buying online is the ideal way to ensure you never miss out.

  Next Estimated Jackpot:    £4,100,000
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Registration only takes a few minutes and then you’re ready to play. Choose your own numbers or have a random set generated for you with the Lucky Dip option, and then select how many draws you want to enter. You have the option to play up to eight weeks in advance when playing online, which is ideal if you’re away on holiday and you don’t want to pass up the chance that your numbers might come up.


Checking your results

If you have won a prize you will be notified by email so make sure you provide a valid and current email address upon registration. Be sure to check your email account after the draw to see if you are a winner – if you have won a prize the email will state that there are changes to your account and will prompt you to log in.

If you have bought a ticket from a retailer, you can check your numbers in several ways – either by visiting the Lotto Results Page (which will have a complete prize breakdown available to view following the draw), visiting our Facebook page or downloading our free smartphone app.

Download our Lottery Results App

If you have an iPhone, Android smartphone or iPad then why not download our free UK Lotto results app, so no matter where you are, you’ll always have the latest Lotto results at your fingertips. As well as a detailed prize breakdown, the UK Lotto app also features a Lotto Ticket Checker and Random Number Generator.

Visit the Lottery Apps page for full details.


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