Best Lottery to Play | UK Lotteries List

UK Lotto

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The best lottery list for players in the United Kingdom. You need this list so you can find the best lottery based on what you want out of it!

Disclaimer

None of the following lotteries have any product placement partnerships with us. Our only aim here is to objectively present the lotto options available in the United Kingdom.

UK Lotteries List

UK Lottery Largest Jackpot Ever Price per Play Current Jackpot
Lotto £22.5m £2 £5m

Lotto HotPicks

£350.000 £1 £350.000
EuroMillions £170.2m £2.5 £90m
EuroMillions HotPicks £1m £1.5 £1m
Millionaire Maker N/A £1.5 N/A

Thunderball

£500.000 £1 £500.000
Health Lottery £100.000 £1 £100.000
Health Millions £5m £1 £5m
People’s Postcode £7.9m £10/month £3.7
Free Lottery £10.000 free £10.000
Set for Life £300.000 £1.5 £300.000
Irish Lotto €19m €4 €6m
UK Powerball N/A £1.5 £4.2m
Pick 3 £500 50p £500

Disclaimer

The jackpot amounts and ticket prices included in this table are subject to change. Should any relevant changes occur, we will update it accordingly.

Lotto the mother of all UK lotteries

Lotto the mother of all UK lotteries

The national lottery, nowadays referred to as Lotto and represented by a googly-eyed fingers-crossed hand mascot, is the only state-franchised draw.

It was established in 1994 and operated by the Camelot Group since, with the Gambling Commission’s oversight guaranteeing its fairness.

Fact

The “Lotto” name was adopted in 2002 during a major rebranding campaign to combat plummeting sales. Lottery Extra would also be changed to Lotto Extra. However, the Camelot group retired the latter in 2006.

How old do I need to be to play the lottery?

While playing in best online casinos requires you to be at least 18, all British subjects over 16 can purchase national lotto tickets.

This is true across the board for all the games organised within in Great Britain. However, for the international lottery games, UK players must abide by other conditions. Most often, if it is not 16, the required age is 18.

How to play Lotto?

You must choose six numbers ranging from 1 to 59. A Lucky Dip option also automatically provides you with six random numbers.

Play slips cost £2 and allow up to seven lines of numbers each. British participants can purchase up to 10 play slips for any draw. You then have to choose the date to play on. The choices are Wednesday, Saturday, or both.

If you are eligible for a payout, the operator will notify you via email. You will then be able to claim your prize.

Tips

You can save time and automatically play with a direct debit function.

Lotto payouts

  • Six main numbers – varying jackpot
  • Five main numbers & bonus ball – £1 million
  • Five main numbers – £1750
  • Four main numbers – £140
  • Three main numbers – £30
  • Two main numbers – free Lucky Dip

Jackpot rollover

The operator fixes a starting jackpot. After each draw, there is a rollover that increases the total pot. After four rollovers, the jackpot reaches a “Must be won” state.

If no player is eligible to win the jackpot in this state, e rolldown occurs. In this case, the pot is shared by players that match two or more main numbers.

Fact

28% of the revenue generated by the national lottery draws is donated to various common concern causes.

11 UK lotteries you can play

Our team at CasinoAlpha has compiled a list of all the types of lottery UK provides. Read our UK lotteries list and find the best for you.

  • Lotto HotPicks

Lotto HotPicks

The game uses the main draw for its numbers. However, players must choose the numbers and the number of balls they wish to match.

Participants can pick up to five balls to match. They lose the drawing round if they do not match all the balls. The cost of entry is £1.

Payouts and Winning odds

Matched balls Payout Winning odds
One £6 1 in 10
Two £60 1 in 115
Three £800 1 in 1626
Four £13000 1 in 30342
Five £350000 1 in 834398
  • EuroMillions

EuroMillions

It is a pan-European draw launched by Camelot in 2004. The draws take place in Paris and are aired in the United Kingdom on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The entry cost for playing in EuroMillions draws is £2.5. The competition includes players from other countries ranging from Portugal to Austria to Ireland.

EuroMillions HotPicks

In 2018, the operator organised a EuroMillions HotPicks draw. The game works similar to the national Lotto HotPicks. Its prizes range from £10 to £1 million.

EuroMillions & HotPicks odds

Matching Options EuroMillions odds EuroMillions HotPicks odds
Five numbers & 2 stars 1 in 139838160
5 numbers & 1 star 1 in 6991908
Four numbers & 2 stars 1 in 621503
4 numbers & 1 star 1 in 31075
3 numbers & 2 stars 1 in 14125
3 numbers & 1 star 1 in 706
2 numbers & 2 stars 1 in 985
2 numbers & 1 star 1 in 49
1 number & 2 stars 1 in 188
Five numbers 1 in 3107515 1 in 2118760
Four numbers 1 in 13811 1 in 46060
Three numbers 1 in 314 1 in 1960
Two numbers 1 in 22 1 in 123
1 number 1 in 10
  • Millionaire Maker

Millionaire Maker

The EuroMillions ticket within the United Kingdom also contains a Millionaire Maker code. The four letters and five numbers qualify buyers to a particular game.

There is a winner each round, except for special draws, with the awarded prize of £1 million. Odds depend on the number of sold tickets.

Be aware

Millionaire Maker odds are generally higher on Fridays than on Tuesdays.

  • Thunderball

Thunderball

In this game, players choose five main numbers from 1 to 39 and a “Thunderball” number, ranging from 1 to 14.

You must match the Thunderball number and at least three main balls to win a draw. You must pay £1 per line to play Thunderball.

Thunderball prizes and odds

Matches Current prizes Winning odds
Thunderball £3 1 in 29
One main number & Thunderball £5 1 in 35
Two main numbers & Thunderball £10 1 in 135
Three main numbers £10 1 in 111
Three main numbers & Thunderball £20 1 in 1437
Four main numbers £100 1 in 3647
Four main digits & Thunderball £250 1 in 47415
Five main numbers £5000 1 in 620046
Five main numbers & Thunderball £500000 1 in 8060598
  • Health Lottery

Health Lottery

The Health Lottery is a game operated by Northern and Shell. Functioning since 2011, it has had five weekly draws on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

The revenue resulting from a week’s draws are received by a different community interest company, with 20% of the funds going to health-related issues.

The entry fee is £1, and the maximum jackpot is £250000, with the lowest award being a free ticket. Like other games, you must choose five numbers from 1 to 50 and a Health Ball from 1 to 5.

Health Millions

This version runs on Mondays and Thursdays, every week at 9 PM. The entry price is the same, but the top prize is £5 million.

The total pot can also be boosted up to £15 million for Super Jackpots.

  • People’s Postcode Lottery

People’s Postcode Lottery

Here is a much more generous game. Participants can play in daily, biweekly, and monthly draws, with jackpots of £1000, £30000, and £7.9 million.

The daily draw awards the prize to one winner in 20 postcodes. The Saturday and Sunday draws provide the award to a player in one postcode.

The monthly draw prize is spread by one postcode area’s participants. The currently estimated award per winning postcode ticket is £368000.

Important

The People’s Postcode Lottery donates 33% of its total revenue to over 9000 charities. It has raised a whopping £850 million for various causes during its existence.

  • Free Lottery

Free Lottery

You can also participate in random UK lotteries for free, competing to win up to £100000.

The process is simple. You choose your six numbers ranging from 1 to 75, register for a free account by entering your name and email. You must additionally log in after the draw to see if you won. The odds of a payout are lower, but this is the cheapest among the types of lottery UK hosts.

  • Set for Life

Set for Life

Launched on 18 March 2019, the game provides a £100000 monthly top prize for thirty years. The total can reach £3600000.

Participating costs £1.5, and players choose five main numbers (from 1 to 47) plus a Life Ball (1 to 10). Draws are aired every Monday and Thursday at 20:00.

Set for Life payouts and odds

Matched numbers Payouts Odds
Five balls + Life Ball £10000 / month (for 30 years) 1 in 15339390
Five numbers £10000 / month (for one year) 1 in 1704377
Four digits + Life Ball £250 1 in 73045
Four balls £50 1 in 8116
Three balls + Life Ball £30 1 in 1782
Three numbers £20 1 in 198
Two numbers + Life Ball £10 1 in 134
Two balls £5 1 in 15
  • Irish Lotto

Irish Lotto

Yes, British players can also participate in the Irish Lotto via online play slip platforms. They can register up to eight tickets into the draw.

Each entry must contain six picked spots ranging from 1 to 47. Each ticket costs £3, but you can save 10% by using Direct Debit to play repeatedly. You will see the results every Wednesday and Saturday at 7:55 PM.

Irish Law requires lottery participants to be over 18 to be eligible.

Prize tiers and odds

Matching Options Payout tiers Odds
Six spots Min. €2 million jackpot 1 in 10737573
5 & bonus €100000 1 in 1789596
Five spots €1500 1 in 44740
4 & bonus €150 1 in 17896
Four spots €50 1 in 918
3 & bonus €25 1 in 688
Three spots €9 1 in 54
2 & bonus €3 1 in 72
  • UK Powerball

UK Powerball

You can follow the UK Powerball results following the draws that take place at 9:59 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The price of entry is £1.5. Participants choose six numbers ranging from 1 to 50 and a Powerball from 1 to 5.

Tip

You can save 10% off the raffle entry fee by subscribing to the game’s newsletter.

Powerball prizes and chances

Match options Award Chances to win
6 & Powerball £4.2 million 1 in 79453500
5 & Powerball $8888 1 in 300960
4 & Powerball $88 1 in 5599
3 & Powerball $4.5 1 in 299
2 & Powerball $2 1 in 39
Powerball Free entry 1 in 5
  • Pick 3

Pick 3

This version may seem the simplest type of lottery UK is hosting. As the name implies, players choose only three spots ranging between 1 and 9. Values can repeat.

The maximum prize per weekly draw is £500, with an entry price of £0.5 or £1. However, what complexity the game lacks in the number of balls it regains through various choice systems.

Betting options

Choice type Odds of a payout Payout (per £0.5 / £1 tickets)
Straight – exact order 1 in 1000 £250 / £500
3-way box – any order 1 in 333 £80 / £160
6-way box – any order 1 in 167 £40 / £80
3-way straight/ box 1 in 333 / 1 in 1000 (straight) £80 / £330
6-way straight/ box 1 in 667 / 1 in 1000 (straight) £40 / £290
Front pair 1 in 100 £250 / £500
Back pair 1 in 100 £25 / £50
3-way combo 1 in 333 £25 / £50
6-way combo 1 in 167 £250 / £500

Straight bets are matches of numbers in the exact order they have been chosen. Box is the opposite, as you match the drawn numbers in any order.

For straight/box bets, your £1 ticket price is divided into two bets. You must match the first or last two digits only for a payout for front and back pairs. Combos combine several payouts for two or three digits, depending on your chosen numbers.

Compare the lottery games | UK

UK lotteries list Maximum prize Max win odds / entry Any payout chance
Lotto £50 million 1 in 45057474 1 in 9.3
Lotto HotPicks £350000 1 in 834398 1 in 10
EuroMillions €220 million 1 in 139838160 1 in 13
EuroMillions HotPicks £1 million 1 in 2118760 1 in 22
Millionaire Maker £1 million 1 in 1900000 1 in 10
Thunderball £500000 1 in 8060598 1 in 29
Health Lottery £250000 1 in 2118760 1 in 16
Health Millions £5 million 1 in 79453500 1 in 3
People’s Postcode Lotto £7.9 million (divided in a postcode area) 1 in 1080000 1 in 1.3
Free Lottery £100000 1 in 10737573 1 in 29
Set for Life £10000/m (30 years) 1 in 15339390 1 in 15
Irish Lotto €2 million minimum 1 in 10737573 1 in 29
UK Powerball £4.2 million 1 in 79453500 1 in 9.3
Pick 3 £500 1 in 1000 1 in 100

Important

Although many platforms provide statistics for previously drawn numbers, no combination of selected numbers can enhance your overall odds. All balls are just as likely to come up in a draw, and thus past results are irrelevant to your current chances.

Which is the best lottery to play in the UK?

The best choice will depend on your intentions when participating in a draw. The objective data we provide can inform your decision.

Aiming to win big

EuroMillions provides the biggest jackpot, but choosing the winning numbers is appropriately unlikely. This is generally the case for all options: a high maximum prize is counter-balanced by low odds.

Pick 3 gives you the best chances of getting the highest prize. However, the jackpot is only a meagre £500. Nonetheless, no lottery will guarantee a profit, as they are essentially games of luck.

If you want to play for a good cause

If you want to play for a good cause

UK lotteries have an appeal in the fact that a considerable part of their revenues goes into funding for good causes. Still, operators will donate different percentages.

If you want to show your goodwill to British society along with gaining a chance to earn a prize, you should buy tickets to raffles with higher donated margins.

Best for a good cause

People’s Postcode draws have the most generous donations, with 33% of all revenues going to good causes. The Irish lottery comes in second with 30%.

Trying to get any prize

Trying to get any prize

If you actually expect to win any prize when entering the raffle, the People’s Postcode draw is the go-to game – an option we further recommend considering the high revenue margin being donated.

Be aware

Receiving a return for entering the raffle does not mean that you will necessarily break even.

When we refer to the possibility of breaking even, we need to consider the return to player percentage, a theoretical result that characterises all games of chance.

Return to player rate for UK lotteries

Return to player rate for UK lotteries

The percentage describes the fraction of your funds that you would recover by participating in multiple (and statistically relevant) draws. The standard RTP for the nationally franchised Lotto is 45%, with other options having similar values. A 45% RTP indicates that, across time, if you were to spend a total of £100 on tickets, you would recover only £45 on average.

This is naturally aggravating for the player, but even in the space of other gambling activities, the return to player percentage of all types of lottery UK hosts is poor.

Slots

The standard RTP for games present on various slots sites available in the UK is 96%. Thus, a player would lose £4 per £100 wagered in the long run.

Beyond the fact the value indicates to players that they will bleed money by design, it presupposes that gamblers will have no spending caps. With a limited bankroll, a constant approximate £4 loss would quickly lead to hitting zero.

Table games

Table games available in standard online platforms and, more notably in live casinos, are known for giving players a fighting chance.

While they still have a non-zero RTP (often referred to in this context as its reverse, the house edge, i.e., the profit margin for the casinos), gamblers can affect its value through educated strategies.

Game types

  • Roulette provides several outside bets that come close to being a fair 50/50 gamble. Their overall odds of success vary depending on the game version. Nonetheless, the European roulette version, along with En Prison and La Partage rules, generate a low 98.65% RTP (or 1.35% house edge.)
  • Blackjack is considerably more complicated, requiring informed strategies and having many more rules and qualia that contribute to its house edge. However, the ideal system can bring the game house edge to 0.5%.
  • Even baccarat, which requires minor input among the three popular table games, has a low 1.06% house edge.

Casino table and card games provide participants with better odds. However, the reverse is that they require considerably more effort, knowledge, and engagement than the very simple UK lotteries.

Keno, bingo, scratch cards

We should naturally consider the games that most resemble the types of lottery UK operators organise.

The return to player percentage for keno games ranges from 70% to 90%. Thus, it still fares better than Lotto draws. 90-ball bingo sits at around 80%, with 75-ball counterparts raging between 70% to 85%. Although statistically giving more chances, one can contend that these games do not provide as large a prize as UK lotteries do.

However, when computing the return to player rate, we also consider the returns and jackpots per placed ticket. In other words, while being impressive, large pots tell you a lot less than the RTP does regarding a game of chance.

How are these UK lotteries different from scratchers?

Both game types provide you with a staggeringly low chance of winning a bafflingly large prize. With scratch cards, you find out on the spot if you won or not and do not need to check the draw results.

While this distinction in outcome functionalities may seem marginal, analysts have indicated that it generates less than trivial qualitative differences between the two games, especially in matters of abusive play.

Are UK lotteries still worth it?

Are UK lotteries still worth it

The small entry fees, minimal input or skill required by UK lotteries, and their underlying philanthropic purposes make them popular choices.

Are UK lotteries still worth it

According to official statistics, UK lotteries remain the second-highest gambling industry sector, with the National Lottery being the leading activity across the board. The latter has also seen the second most significant GGY increase (10.4%) by volume and the first by net value (£319.9 million.)

We can suspect that its success stems from a notable and ongoing presence on the market, the trust of a nationally franchised operation, and successful marketing practices. The Camelot Group did a great job at pushing to the front what worked in the gambling business model and retiring whatever did not.

From the customer side, UK lotteries remain accessible everyday activities that provide the thrill of having a chance at receiving large prizes with minimal input.

A tie to gambling addiction?

While being more restrained than other gambling activities, both in volume and engagement, experts have analysed the relation between UK lotteries and excessive play.

Researchers have only found positive correlations between some types (instant scratch cards and video lottery terminals) and problematic behaviours. With this being noted, we should not ignore the nature of successful practices that stand behind lottery’s success, beyond marketing and coverage.

Operators hinge their practices on the general ignorance of probability theory, entrapment, manufacturing credibility, and heavy use of heuristics. The latter implies creating the illusion of control, flexible attributions, and fomenting hindsight, availability, and representativeness biases.

In other words, lottery operators place their bet on the buyer’s ignorance, which they further stimulate. We hope that our data helps our readers be the wiser, even at the expense of operators’ profits.

Francisc Csiki
Author Francisc Csiki Author & Editor at CasinoAlpha

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