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How to Play The Lottery

How to Play The National Lottery

There are three ways to play Camelot's lotto games:

  1. In person

    In order to play the UK National Lottery you must purchase a ticket in person from an official retailer. Fill in a playslip at your nearest Lotto retailer and pay in cash for up to 16 draws' worth of numbers. This is the only way a non-UK citizen can legally play the UK Lotto (i.e. they have to be physically in the UK when buying the ticket).
  2. Subscription

    You can take out a subscription by post or via the official Camelot site. Subscriptions are only open to people with a UK bank account and a UK residential address, but you can pay for them with direct debit, a cheque or a postal order (online purchase is via a debit card). This is useful if you are going to be abroad for longer than the 8 weeks
  3. Online

    The official Camelot site now includes the ability to play the main UK Lotto, Thunderball, Daily Play and Euro Millions games via online purchasing of tickets. This requires a UK debit card that "tops up" a kitty from which you purchase tickets and winnings are credited back to the debit card.

The following is reproduced from the How To Play (Now Twice A Week) The UK National Lottery leaflet.

Choose Your Numbers

The National Lottery playslip has a number of boxes on it. These boxes are called "boards". You select your six numbers by marking them on a board. If you want to pick another six numbers, use another board. If you'd like the terminal to choose your numbers at random, mark theLucky Dip box on your playslip or simply ask the retailer for a "Lucky Dip".

(Note: You should not select a set of numbers and mark the "Lucky Dip" box on the same board.)

Choose The Draw

Choose which draw you wish to enter by marking the appropriate "Which Draw ?" box on the new playslip - "Both", "Wed" or "Sat".

Ticking the "both" box makes things easier for you if you want to enter the same set of numbers for both draws. Your selection of six numbers will be automatically entered in the next Saturday and Wednesday with just one playslip.

Choose The Numbers Of Weeks To Play

On every playslip, you'll see a section called "No. of Weeks" which lets you use the same set of numbers for up to eight weeks, starting with the next selected draw.

Here's an example of how it works. Let's suppose that you indicate in the "No. of Weeks" box that you'd like to play for the next three weeks. At the same time, you indicate that you'd like to play on Wednesdays only. When you give your playslip to the retailer, he or she will give you a ticket that will enter you into every Wednesday draw for the next three weeks. It's that simple. Here's another example. Let's say you indicate "7" in the "No. of Weeks" box and that you'd like to play in both the Saturday and the Wednesday draws. Your ticket will then be valid every Wednesday and Saturday for the next seven weeks - that's a total of 14 draws.

(Remember: every time you fill in the playslip, you must indicate which draws you wish to enter.)

Get Your Ticket

When you've paid, the retailer will enter your selections into the terminal and give you a National Lottery ticket. It will have your chosen numbers (including any Lucky Dip selections) and the draw date(s) printed on it. You must check that the numbers you have selected, the days you wish to play, the number of weeks and the draw date(s) are correct, that the barcoded serial number is clearly readable and that the "void" box on your ticket has not been marked. Then write your name and address on the back. Keep your ticket safe, you'll need it to check off your numbers in the draw. Don't lose it ! You'll need it to claim your prize, as it is the only proof that you are a winner.

Look Out For The Winning Numbers

If six numbers on one of your printed selections match the six main numbers that are drawn - in any order - you are a jackpot winner. You also win a prize by matching five, four or even three out of the six. There will also be a seventh bonus number drawn. If you already have five matching numbers, look out for it. The bonus number gives you the chance to win the second highest prize.

As well as the televised draw you'll find the winning numbers in the national tional newspapers and clearly displayed in all National Lottery retailers. The winning numbers for previous draws can also be obtained by calling The National Lottery Line or from many lottery websites.

It Could Be You

The more numbers you match, the more money you can win. Below, you'll see how the prize money will be shared out and what the odds are of winning at each level. It is estimated that there will be around a million winners every week.

Winning Selections                  	Odds         	 Estimated Prize 
Jackpot, Match 6 main numbers      	1 in 13,983,816    	£2,000,000
Match 5 main numbers + the bonus   	1 in 2,330,636     	£100,000
Match 5 main numbers           		1 in 55,492        	£1,500
Match 4 main numbers           		1 in 1,033        	£62
Match 3 main numbers           		1 in 57           	£10

The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 54

It's worth remembering that the exact value of prizes depends on how many tickets are sold and how many people match the same quantity of numbers as you. For example, if two or more people match the six main numbers drawn, then the jackpot is split between them.

Match 3 prizes will always be £10 except in the extremely unlikely event that the prize fund (45% of the draw sales) is insufficient to give all winners £10 each. If it is, then the whole of the prize fund is shared equally by all prize winners.


This allows you to use the same numbers (including any Lucky Dip selections) each draw, for up to eight weeks. On the playslip, you will find a column marked "No. of Weeks". Mark the number of weeks you want your numbers to be entered into. You must pay for your required number of weeks in advance.


If no-one has chosen the six main numbers drawn, no-one wins the jackpot prize and it is rolled over to the next draw e.g. if nobody wins a Saturday draw, the jackpot rolls over to the following Wednesday. If nobody wins a Wednesday draw, the jackpot rolls over to the following Saturday. If the jackpot is not won after four consecutive draws, the final jackpot fund will be shared out between the players who have matched five of the six main numbers plus the bonus number, in the fourth draw.

Claiming Your Prize

If your prize is up to £75, you can claim it in cash from any National Lottery retailer. All you've got to do is give them your winning ticket to validate through their Lottery terminal. The terminal will then produce a validation slip which will show the value of your prize. Check this against the amount paid out and return it to the retailer. At their discretion, all retailers can pay prizes up to £200 in cash.

Some National Lottery retailers are authorised to pay prizes of up to £500. National Lottery Post Offices will pay out prizes of up to £10,000, though prizes over £500 will be paid by cheque. Anything above £10,000 must be claimed in person from a National Lottery Regional Centre and will be paid by cheque (no cash is held on these premises).

If you match all six main numbers, or five plus the bonus number, please call The National Lottery Line immediately for assistance in claiming your prize. Ring 0645 100 000 (calls normally charged at local rate in the UK).

To claim any prize above £500, you will have to complete a Claim Form and give proof of your identity. If you are claiming a large prize, additional checks on your winning ticket may be conducted. All National Lottery prizes must be claimed by 11.00pm, 180 days after the winning draw. You can also claim your winnings by post. Remember, The National Lottery accepts no responsibility for tickets lost in the post.


If you are a winner, The National Lottery will only reveal your identity if you give written consent to publicity. It's important if you have won a major prize to telephone The National Lottery Line immediately and certainly before you tell anyone else, so that we can advise you of your publicity options.

Things To Remember

You must be 16 years old or over to play The National Lottery or claim a prize.

You must have purchased your National Lottery ticket by 7.30pm on the day of the relevant draw to take part in that draw.

The above is reproduced from the "How To Play (Now Twice A Week) The UK National Lottery" leaflet published by the National Lottery National-Lottery.co.uk