Lotto card
chrisd2105 /

Lotteries will always be a popular source of entertainment, not least because they offer huge prizes for a relatively small stake. There’s no question that the EuroMillions takes the biscuit, regularly offering nine-figure prizes in exchange for a stake of just £2.50, but what other options are available to people? It’s obviously a tricky question to answer definitively, given the prize is rarely the same week after week.

Even so, we can certainly give a rough idea of how much you can expect to win for your stake, depending on the lottery that you opt to take part in. The British lotteries are, in many ways, a little bit more conservative than their American counterparts, but the flip side of that is that British winners don’t have to pay tax or worry about how to receive their payout, so perhaps, on balance, they’re better anyway.


UK Lotto Sign
Icenando /

Let’s start by doing a comparison of the various lotteries that British players can get involved in. We’ll explain how much your stake is as well as the average jackpot that tends to be available on the game in question. We’ll also look at the odds of winning, given the fact that it’s always good to have a sense of how often you’re likely to win before you decide to put your money on the line buying a ticket.

Lottery Stake Amount Average Jackpot Prize Odds Of Winning
EuroMillions £2.50 £55,058,732 1 in 139,838,160
EuroMillions Hot Picks £1.50 £1 million 1 in 2,118,760
Lotto £2 £5 million 1 in 45,057,474
Lotto Hot Picks £1 £350,000 1 in 834,398
Thunderball £1 £500,000 1 in 8,060,598
Set For Life £1.50 £10,000 Every Month For 30 Years 1 in 15,300,000
Health Lottery £1 £100,000 1 in 2,118,760
People’s Postcode Lottery £10 Per Month £400,000 1 in 1,080,000

Taking a Closer Look

Having explained the maximum prize that you can win in each of the lotteries, how much the stake costs and the odds of winning the jackpot, let’s now take a closer look at how each of the lotteries works. This will likely help you decide which of them you want to play, given that they each have their own quirks and eccentricities that help them to differentiate themselves from each other.


Euro Millions logoWhilst the EuroMillions obviously has the biggest cash prize on offer, it’s also the most expensive of the lotteries to play and the one that you’re the least likely to win. You need to pick five regular number as well as two Lucky Stars. In order to win the jackpot, all seven of these numbers need to come in, which is what causes the odds to be quite so astronomical. The normal numbers are from 1 to 50, with the Lucky Stars being between 1 and 12.

EuroMillions Hot Picks

Euro Millions HotpicksEuroMillions Hot Picks is based around the main game but works differently. You need to pick five numbers if you’re aiming for the main jackpot. If the give numbers that you’ve chosen, or that you’re given thanks to a Lucky Dip, are the same five numbers as the main EuroMillions draw, you win the jackpot. The Lucky Stars don’t count, so you’ve got to ensure that the numbers are the same as the main ones.


The National LotteryThe main National Lottery draw has changed slightly over the years, but only in the sense that you need to pick six numbers from between 1 and 59 rather than 1 and 49 as it was originally. This has seen the chances of winning go up, but after a given number of draws there is now a definite winner, meaning even if all six numbers don’t come up for someone the prize is shared down to those with, say, five numbers and the Bonus Ball.

Lotto Hot Picks

Lotto HotpicksLotto Hot Picks works in much the same way as the EuroMillions Hot Picks does, which is to say that if you’re trying to win the jackpot then you need to pick five numbers between 1 and 59, or choose a Lucky Dip. When the main Lotto draw is done, if your five numbers match any of the main six numbers drawn, excluding the Bonus Ball, you’ll win the jackpot. Regardless of how many winners there are, you win the same amount.


Thunder Ball lottery logoThe Thunderball draw is an entirely separate one from the Lotto draw, with five numbers and a Thunderball being drawn. Match them all and you trigger the jackpot, which is why the game is so popular. It’s half the price of the main Lotto draw and you don’t need to match as many numbers, in theory at least. The odds are also better, given you’re picking numbers from between 1 and 39 as well as a Thunderball from between 1 and 14.

Set For Life

Set for Life lottery logoThe interesting thing about Set For Life is that it doesn’t work in the same way as other lotteries. Instead of receiving a lump sum, you get paid every month for a set period of time. You need to pick five numbers from 1 to 47 as well as a Life Ball, which is between 1 and 10. As with the main Lotto draw and the EuroMillions, there are smaller prizes that you can win if you don’t match all five numbers and the Life Ball.

Health Lottery

Health Lottery logoThe Health Lottery is similar to other lotteries, with the main exception being that money is given to specific causes. You also need to pick fewer numbers, with just five balls needed to trigger the top prize. There are also two draws that just one ticket gets you entry to. Buy a ticket for the Wednesday and Saturday draws and you’ll get an entry into the Free Prize Draw, which boasts a maximum prize of £100,000.

People’s Postcode Lottery

People's Postcode LotteryThe People’s Postcode Lottery raises money for charities, but you don’t need to pick numbers in order to play it. In fact, you don’t need to pick anything at all as it goes off the postcode of where you live. Everyone playing the game who lives in the postcode will win the same prize, or a share of the prize. Draws are made every day, with big draws made at the weekend that promise a better prize, plus there’s a main prize drawn monthly.