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Lotto Odds and Prizes

You win Lotto prizes by matching your selected numbers to the winning numbers – there’s millions of pounds of prize money at stake in every draw. The odds of matching all six numbers to win the jackpot are 1 in 45,057,474, and overall the chances of winning a prize are better than 1 in 10. Find out more about the odds of winning Lotto.

Prize Categories

To win a prize, you must match at least two of the six main numbers. The prizes increase in value as you match more numbers, culminating in the ‘Match 6’ jackpot award. The following table shows all the Lotto odds, prizes and how to win.

Prize Category Odds of Winning Prize Value
Match 6 1 in 45,057,474 Jackpot
Match 5 + Bonus Ball 1 in 7,509,579 £1 million
Match 5 1 in 144,415 £1,750
Match 4 1 in 2,180 £140
Match 3 1 in 97 £30
Match 2 1 in 10.3 Free Lotto Lucky Dip
The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 9.3

The Lotto jackpot starts at £2 million on a Wednesday and £3.8 million on a Saturday. It is shared between all players who match six numbers in the same draw, or rolls over to the next draw if there are no winners. Take a look at the biggest Lotto winners of all time.

There are fixed prizes in all the tiers below the jackpot, ranging from a free Lucky Dip for matching two numbers to £1 million for matching five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball. The Bonus Ball is only relevant if you match five of the main balls.

The jackpot can only roll over for a maximum of five consecutive draws. A Must Be Won draw will then be held in the following draw, which guarantees that the jackpot money will be given away even if there are no Match 6 winners. If a rolldown occurs, lower prizes can be boosted significantly.

Prize Capping

If the number of jackpot winners in a certain draw means that the individual prize amounts fall below £1 million, the jackpot will be topped up so that each player receives £1 million. The amount of money that can be added to the jackpot in this way is capped at £7 million, so in very rare cases, it may be that jackpot winners receive less than £1 million each.

All other cash awards - from Match 3 to Match 5 + Bonus - can also be capped in very rare circumstances when winners cannot be paid the standard prize. The total capped prize fund equates to 35.82 percent of ticket sales, plus £35 million. If prizes do have to be capped, all winners below the jackpot will receive at least £2 or a Lucky Dip.

Reserve Prize Fund

Half of the money raised from ticket sales is put towards Lotto prizes. A small portion of that revenue – 8.78% - is kept in a reserve fund that can be used to bolster prize amounts when special promotions take place.

Improving Your Lotto Odds

Each line of Lotto numbers has an identical chance of winning. The only way to improve your odds is to get more entries. An affordable way to do this is to play in a syndicate so that you split the cost with others and boost your odds at the same time. Go to the Syndicates section for more information.

Taxes on Winnings

UK lottery prizes are not subject to tax, but there are exceptions. The interest that accrues on a prize, for example, may have to be taxed as part of your normal income tax if it is sufficiently large. If you wish to give anyone a share of your winnings, you should also be aware that they may have to pay Inheritance Tax if you die within seven years. If you play from overseas, you may be liable for withholdings in your own country. You should check with a financial expert if you have queries about tax as it is a complex issue that does depend on individual circumstances.

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