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Set For Life Questions and Answers

Take a look at these Set For Life FAQs to learn more about the National Lottery’s exciting annuity game. You can find answers to questions concerning all aspects of the game, from how to play to the finer details of how annuity payouts work.

How does Set For Life work?

Set For Life is an annuity lottery, which means that its biggest prizes are paid out in regular instalments over an extended period of time, rather than in one lump sum. If you win the top prize you will receive regular payments of £10,000 a month for the next 30 years. The second prize pays out £10,000 a month for 12 months.

How do I play?

Pick five main numbers from 1 to 47 and one Life Ball from 1 to 10. You can choose your own numbers or you can go for a Lucky Dip to receive a randomly generated set.

What time is the draw?

Draws take place on Monday and Thursday evenings at 8pm.

How much does it cost to play?

It costs £1.50 per line to play Set For Life.

What are the odds of winning?

The odds of winning the top prize are approximately 1 in 15.3 million, while the chances of winning any prize are 1 in 12.4.

How do I win prizes?

Match the numbers you pick to those selected as the winning numbers in the draw you enter to win a prize. The more numbers you match, the bigger the prize.

You can win by matching as few as two main numbers, while you win the top prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years by matching all five numbers and the Life Ball. Match five numbers without the Life Ball to win the second prize of £10,000 a month for one year.

Are Set For Life prizes tax free?

All Set For Life prizes, including the annuity prizes, are tax free, so you will receive the advertised payouts. You may, however, be liable to pay tax on any interest that the prize money accrues while it is in your bank account.

What is the Life Ball?

In every Set For Life a draw a Life Ball is selected after the five main numbers have been drawn. You can win certain prizes if it matches the Life Ball on your ticket. Life Balls are numbered between 1 and 10 and are drawn from a separate pool to the main numbers, so you may see the same number appear twice in the same draw. You can also select the same number twice on your ticket: once as a main number and then again as the Life Ball.

The Life Ball is not interchangeable with any of your other numbers, so it only counts if you match the Life Ball on your ticket with the one in the draw.

Does the top prize roll over if nobody wins?

No. The top prize is set at £10,000 a month for 30 years in every draw.

Has anyone ever won £10,000 a month for 30 years?

Yes! To date there have been 19 winners of the top Set For Life prize, all of whom receive monthly payouts of £10,000 for 30 years.

What are Super Chance draws?

Super Chance draws are special draws in which you can win the top prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years by matching just five numbers without the Life Ball. This improves your odds of winning the prize from 1 in 15 million to 1 in 1.5 million.

Super Chance draws draws do not take place regularly; instead, the National Lottery determines when one will take place and will announce the date of the draw in advance.

Where does the money from ticket sales go?

Around 54 percent of the money from ticket sales is paid straight back to players as prizes. However, the percentage does vary from draw to draw depending on how many winners there are. All eight prize tiers offer fixed awards so you are guaranteed to win the specified amount, but the top two prizes may be capped if the number of winners is unusually high. After prizes have been paid, the rest of the money is used to help good causes, as well as to cover operating costs, retailer commissions and lottery duty to the government.

Can I take the top prize as a lump sum?

Set For Life rules state that the top two prizes will always be paid out as annuities unless prize capping comes into play or the winner dies before all of the annuity payments have been made. If prize capping is needed, winners will have the choice of taking the prize money as either a lump sum or an annuity.

What is prize capping?

The total amount of money available to pay out the prizes in the top two Set For Life tiers is limited to a certain amount. If the number of winners in either of these two prize tiers is unusually high, there may not be enough money in the prize fund to pay them all the advertised amounts. If that happens, each winner will receive an equal share of the capped prize fund.

You can find a more detailed explanation about prize capping on the Prizes and Odds page.

What happens if I win the top prize and die before I receive all the money?

If a winner of one of the annuity prizes dies before receiving all of the payments, the outstanding money will be paid to the winner’s estate as a lump sum.

How do Set For Life syndicates work?

You can play Set For as part of a syndicate with other people, just like you can with any other National Lottery game. The terms of playing in the syndicate are at the discretion of the participating players; in other words, it’s up to you how it will work.

As Set For Life operates slightly differently to other lotteries – particularly the way in which prizes are paid out – it’s important that you create or sign a written syndicate agreement that contains details of how the syndicate works and the rules of playing in it.

For example, you will need to decide what to do if your syndicate wins the top prize of £10,000 a month for 30 years. The National Lottery only pays prizes out to a single claimant and does not split prize payouts between different people, so you’ll need to decide who is responsible for claiming the prize and how the annuity payments will be shared between other members of the syndicate.

Go to the National Lottery Syndicates page to learn more about Set For Life syndicates, including how to set one up and all the things you need to consider when you play as part of one.