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UK National Lottery News & Information

The National Lottery is the largest lottery in the United Kingdom. It is operated by Camelot Group, to whom the licence was granted in 1994, 2001 and again in 2007. The lottery is regulated by The National Lottery Commission. The National Lottery undertook a major rebranding programme in 2002 designed to combat falling sales. This resulted in the main game being renamed Lotto. However, the games as a collective are still known as The National Lottery. It is one of the most popular forms of gambling in the United Kingdom.

All prizes are paid as a lump sum and are tax-free. Of every pound (£) spent on Lottery games, 50 pence (p) goes to the prize fund, 28p to 'good causes' as set out by Parliament (though some of this is considered by some to be a stealth tax levied to support the Big Lottery Fund, a fund constituted to support public spending), 12p to the British Government as duty and 5p to retailers as commission, while Camelot receives 4.5p to cover operating costs and 0.5p profit . Players must be at least 16 years of age to participate in the lottery, either in the drawn lottery games or by purchase of lottery scratch cards.

There are twelve different machines that can be used for the Lotto draw. The machine and set of lottery balls to be used is selected at random, and is announced just prior to the draw. The machines are designated Merlin, Arthur, Galahad, Vyvyan, Lancelot, Garnet, Topaz, Opal, Amethyst, Moonstone, Pearl and Sapphire. Guinevere has also been a designated machine in the past but has now been retired. Ball sets, of which there are eight, are designated by number.

The UK National Lottery returns a higher proportion of revenue to society than any other major lottery in the world both in actual and percentage terms. On average, each week around £25 Million is generated for Good Causes.

The UK National Lottery has made over 2000 people millionaires or multimillionaires since it began. The National Lottery has given away over £29 Billion since the beginning. Colchester could be luckiest town in the UK after it produced two lotto jackpot wins in the space of just four days. The two jackpots were worth a combined US$12 Million making all of the winners very happy.


Eligibility
  • Players must be 16 or older
  • Retailer rules do not exclude foreign players, so players physically buying a ticket at a UK lottery retailer can be of any nationality
  • Online purchase of tickets from http://www.national-lottery.co.uk/ - the only legal online site to buy UK lottery tickets - is limited to players who have a UK bank account (for debit card or direct debit purposes) and a UK residential address
  • The ticket purchaser for a syndicate, typically the manager of said syndicate, must follow the same eligibility rules that apply to non-syndicate individual players. Note that the remaining members of the syndicate can be of any nationality, but must also be aged 16 or over
  • Lottery tickets are not transferable, so commercial syndicates (i.e. where extra charges are levied over and above the total face value of the tickets purchased) are not permitted


Games

Lotto
Six numbers are drawn from a set of individually numbered balls with numbers in the range 1–49, as well as a further bonus ball. Balls, once drawn, are not returned to the draw machine, therefore each ball (including the bonus ball) can only be drawn once per Lotto draw. Players choose six different numbers by a method of their own choosing at the time they purchase a ticket. Ticket issuing machines can generate a random set of play numbers as a so–called Lucky Dip. Prizes are awarded to players who match at least three of the six drawn numbers with increasing prize value for matching more of the drawn numbers. In addition to the six drawn numbers, an additional number is drawn as the Bonus Ball. The bonus ball is only relevant to those players who match five of the six drawn numbers, whereby those players matching exactly five of the drawn numbers who also match the bonus ball receive a larger prize than those matching just 5 of the drawn numbers. Anyone matching all six drawn numbers wins a share of the jackpot; the chance of doing so is 1 in 13,983,816. For players matching at least four of the drawn balls the prize value is dependent on the total number of players also matching the same number of balls in that the prize fund is divided equally between all players matching that number of drawn numbers. In the event that no player matches all six of the drawn numbers the jackpot is accumulated into the next Lotto draw, a so–called Rollover. This accumulation is limited to three consecutive draws. Rollover is a common occurrence, happening once every few draws, though a "treble roll-over" is a rather less common occurrence having happened only four times to date.
The entry fee to the Lotto draw is £1 per board.
The draw is conducted on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Saturday draws started on 19 November 1994, under the name 'National Lottery'. The first Wednesday draw was on 5 February 1997. All draws are shown live on BBC One in the UK, with the Saturday draw often shown as a live segment in a range of different pre-recorded Lottery branded gameshows throughout the year. The game was rebranded 'Lotto' in 2002.
The Lotto prize fund is 45 percent of draw sales in a normal week. However, the long-term average percentage is almost exactly 46 percent due to an occasional Super Draw paid for from a Super Draw reserve fund, set aside each draw. The three-ball prize winners are calculated first, these receive £10 each.

Lotto Hotpicks
Lotto Hotpicks uses the main Lotto draw for its numbers but is a different game. The player chooses both the numbers and the number of draw balls they want to try and match (up to a maximum of five balls). However, if the player does not match all the numbers chosen, they are not a winner. The National Lottery describe Hotpicks as "Five games in one", because the player has a choice of five ways of playing the game, each offering different odds and payouts. The entry fee to the Lotto Hotpicks draw is £1 per board.

Thunderball
The first Thunderball draw was on 12 June 1999. Players pick five main numbers from 1 to 34 and one 'Thunderball' number from 1 to 14, for an entry fee of £1. Initially only held on Saturdays, draws currently take place every Saturday and Wednesday and are televised live on BBC One. The entry fee to the Lotto draw is £1 per board. The odds and payouts are as follows

Dream Number
Dream Number was launched on 15 July 2006. Dream Number involves generating a random seven digit number for entry into the draw. It can be played independently of Lotto, or if played with Lotto one Dream Number is generated per ticket, not per lotto entry. The cost of entry is £1. A dream number is automatically printed on every lotto ticket bought, whether the player has chosen to enter it into the draw or not. Unlike other Lotto games, it is not possible to choose the number entered, and the order that the numbers are drawn is important, since the numbers must be matched in order for the player to win. Players must match with the first number in order to start winning prizes (ranging from £2 to £500,000), which results in the unfortunate side-effect that 90% of players lose as soon as the first ball is drawn. Draws take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but only the Saturday draw is televised live on BBC One. The Wednesday draw takes place prior to the live TV show and the winning dream number is announced during the show. All money raised for good causes from Dream Number will go towards the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.

Scratchcards
As well as draw tickets, the National Lottery sells (through newsagents, supermarkets, and so on) scratchcards. These are small pieces of card where an area has been covered by a thin layer of opaque (and usually designed according to the particular card) latex that can be scratched off. Under this area are concealed the items/pictures that must be found in order to win. The generic scratchcard requires the player to match three of the same prize amounts. If this is accomplished, they win that amount, the highest possible being £100,000. Other scratchcards involve matching symbols, pictures or words. The majority of National Lottery scratchcards are sold for £2. These are large scratchcards with two or more chances to win or with better odds than usual to win the maximum cash prize. Originally, all scratchcards were £1, however over recent years, the £2 scratchcards have become available in a wider range and the £1 scratchcards, which have a lower chance of winning, are now available on a lower scale. There are also scratchcards available for £5.

Daily Play
The Daily Play draw can be played every day but Sunday and Christmas Day. By selecting 7 numbers between 1 and 27, players can win anything from a free lucky-dip to £30,000. The draw gives its players the chance to win a free daily play lucky-dip for not matching any numbers in the draw. The entry fee to the Daily Play draw is £1 per board. The draw currently has no TV broadcast or recorded online video, making it the only National Lottery ticket-based game with no video evidence that the draw took place.

EuroMillions
On Saturday 7 February 2004 the lottery organisation Camelot launched a pan-European lottery: EuroMillions. The first draw took place on Friday 13 February 2004 in Paris. The UK, France and Spain were involved initially. Lotteries from Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland joined the draw on 8 October 2004. The draws are currently made in Paris and shown recorded in the UK on BBC One, approximately 3 hours after the draw has taken place. The entry fee to the EuroMillions draw is £1.50 per board. The odds of winning the Jackpot is 1 in 76,275,360.

Instant Win Games
Instant Win Games are online games where the player can win up to £100,000 instantly. Some Instant Win Games are similar in format to scratchcards, with others involving more interactive play.


The National Lottery on television
The majority of National Lottery draws take place on live television. The first National Lottery show (entitled The National Lottery Live: The First Draw) was at 19:00 on Saturday 19 November 1994, and linked to Noel's House Party, as Noel Edmonds drove a lorry from 'Crinkley Bottom' to the BBC Television Centre to present a special hour long show, where 49 contestants would battle it out to become the first person to start the draw. The first number ever to be drawn was number 30. For its first few years, the TV Show took the title The National Lottery Live, and was presented mainly by Anthea Turner or the late Bob Monkhouse. Since, the National Lottery has been well represented on several TV game shows, including Jet Set with Eamonn Holmes, In It To Win It with Dale Winton, and 1 vs. 100 with Ben Shephard (who replaced original host Dermot O'Leary), all on BBC One. Also, the Euromillions: Boom Bang show which was broadcast every Friday on UKTV Gold. Traditionally, the draws would take place in the BBC studio during the game show on a Saturday. However, in more recent years, the channel airing the lottery draw will pre-record the non-draw parts of the show and then switch to 'National Lottery HQ', a designated studio for the live draws. The Draws have their own 10-minute slot on BBC One on Wednesdays, which is hosted by various presenters in the National Lottery HQ Studio. In a plan to spread BBC productions across the United Kingdom, all lottery shows will be relocating to BBC Scotland, as well as factual, drama, entertainment and comedy programmes.

National Lottery Xtra
From 10 March 2008, the 'National Lottery Xtra' channel began broadcasting on Freeview, channel 45 for an hour a day. Programming includes content from winners of the jackpot and National Lottery Good Causes projects as well as behind the scenes footage on how the National Lottery is operated.


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