The lottery is one of the highest paying competitions that you can enter. There are few other competitions, if any, that can really get anywhere near it.
A lottery is a pretty simple concept in that you are buying an entry ticket for a competition that will get drawn at random. It’s a lottery as to whether you will win or not and every player that is in the draw should have an equal chance based on each individual ticket that is bought.
The National Lottery is the biggest in the UK, and with that one you need to choose 6 numbers then hope they are a match for the ones drawn randomly that week. If you match all the numbers you win the jackpot, but the good thing about most lotteries is that you don’t need all the numbers to get a prize, with rewards issued from as little as 2 numbers matched.
There are dozens of lotteries that take place all over the world and a lot of them can now be accessed online by UK players. The biggest available to UK players is that of the Euro Millions, but the National Lottery is what most people will be referring to if they simply talk about ‘the lottery’.
Does Camelot have a Monopoly on Lotteries in the UK?
The UK’s lottery is run by a private company called Camelot. It’s their role to make sure that the games are run correctly and also that they are offering a good product in terms of side games linked to the National Lottery brand.
It’s important to note that Camelot are not the governing body for lotteries in the UK; many people falsely believe this but that role falls to the UK Gambling Commission. It’s their job to provide licenses to companies which allow them to run a lottery, and then to make sure that they are abiding by the guidelines that have been laid out.
Licensing plays a huge role in the UK, and the UKGC are one of the strictest in the world when it comes to making sure that everything is above board. Part of what they do include things like making sure players are fairly treated, making sure the National Lottery is protected financially, ensuring the licensees are providing fair and entertaining lottery games, and also make sure that proceeds from the Lottery for charities are evenly distributed and going to the right places.
The licensing process takes a long time for companies to work through. They need to show that they are able to cover all of the bases described above and only then are they fit and proper to hold a lottery.
The license for the National Lottery in the UK is one of the most lucrative licenses that UKGC award. As stated above, Camelot are the current license holder of the National Lottery and it’s worth noting that they are a private company that have no ties to the UKGC or any other governing body.
They’ve been the license holder since the National Lottery began in 1994. Their most recent license was issued in 2009 and was valid for 10 years, and then extended until 2023. However, changes that the UKGC are keen to make include shorter licenses for the lottery and they are actively looking for new companies to apply to run it. It may well be that Camelot get the gig once again, but the days of the 10-year license look set to be behind us.
The UKGC were keen to implement this in order to stop whoever won the license to get too “comfortable”, and to keep the ever-changing industry as fresh as possible. Looking at what’s going on with the licence holder and how it can be improved more frequently should help to do just that.
It’s worth noting that the UKGC also hand out licenses for other National Lottery based games such as Euro Millions, Thunderball, Lotto Hot Picks, Euro Millions Hot Picks, Set For Life, Scratchcards and Interactive Instant Win Games. Each one of these games have their own license but are still able to operate under the National Lottery brand.
In the UK there are actually quite a few lotteries that take place each week. Some are bigger than others but given that there are fewer players taking part in these games compared to the National Lottery, it means there is usually a greater chance of winning.
Whilst the lotteries all run legally, they are obviously not allowed to run on the back of the National Lottery license, which is the only one that UKGC are able to grant to an outside company. However, the UKGC do allow charities and local authorities to apply for licenses to run lotteries, which is the “loophole” that many of these other lotteries use.
The process is actually pretty simple; all these lotteries do is combine either local or charity based lotteries to make one big one, which then means that they are able to get a bigger sum of money for their jackpots and in turn make their lotteries more popular.
It has to be said though that they are also able to raise a good amount of money for charities both on a local and national level.
Below we have listed some of the other lotteries that you can play in the UK and a little about how they work.
Post Code Lottery
To get their license and to build the lottery they have teamed up with over 50 charities based across the UK. These include the likes of WWF, War Child, Water Aid, The Wildlife Trust, Save the Children and Sightsavers, as well as many independent charities nationwide.
They have been able to raise over £462 million for a huge range of good causes to date, and what’s really great about their website is that you can go and see the exact amount that each charity has received over the years thanks to the postcode lottery.
The game works a little differently than most as play is based on a subscription. You will pay £10 per month and be entered into draws that are made on a daily basis. The main draws come on a Saturday and Sunday, where each winning post code that is pulled out of the “hat” will win £30,000.
Once a month is the jackpot draw for a massive £3 million, and if a player’s postcode is pulled out everyone in that post code (who is signed up) will win a share of the money. All tickets are based on the players location and there is no contract so you can cancel any time. The Post Code Lottery pays 32% of all money raised through ticket sales to charitable causes.
The Health Lottery consists of 12 local society lotteries that are based all over England, Scotland and Wales. Each society is represented by a certain area on the map and then each month the money that is raised will go to one of those societies. Each sector has its own license from the UK Gambling Commission as a “local” lottery and then pools its money with the others to create a national one.
The Health Lottery has been able to raise over £100 million since it started running and is raising funds to “empower the most vulnerable communities in each region”. They take a minimum of 20% of each ticket sold to help fund charitable causes.
All you need to do is pick 5 numbers between 1 and 50. Getting all 5 numbers gets you a £25,000 jackpot along with entry to the monthly mega raffle which could be worth £250,000. Draws are made daily and they claim to have over 50,000 winners every week.
Animal Protection Lottery
The Animal Protection Lottery is a charity-based lottery that was set up solely to benefit their charity. Tickets for the lottery cost just £1 and the charity takes 50p of each ticket for good causes and then the other 50p goes into the pot for prizes and to cover admin.
They are fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission but they do have an external company, Sterling Management Centre Limited, that works with them to help run the lottery each week. The draw is made in Sterling’s offices and they are also fully individually licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
The lottery runs once per week and offers up a top prize of £25,000. A ticket will include 6 numbers and you need all 6 numbers to win the jackpot. A 5-number match will get you £1,000 and a 4 number match will get £25.
How Much Money is Raised for Good Causes?
We have briefly covered this individually for each lottery above; The Post Code lottery has done around £460 million, with the Health Lottery doing around £100 million. Both impressive sums.
But it’s the National Lottery where the bulk of charity money has come from. Since it started in 1994, they claim to have raised over £40 billion for good causes. It works out to over 200 lottery grants for each post code in the UK.
Camelot take a 1% profit from the National Lottery, which equates to over £500 million since 1994, with 4% going on operational costs and then the remaining 95% going back to prize money and good causes.
Breakdown for the lottery’s good causes are as follows:
- Health, education, environment and charitable causes – 40%
- Sport – 20%
- Arts – 20%
- Heritage – 20%
Playing Lotteries Through the Bookies
You may have seen that you are able to play certain lottery games at online bookmakers. They will ask you to pick numbers in the normal way for any lottery and then pay out based on the draw.
But what they don’t always make clear is that you aren’t actually playing the lottery, you are just betting with that bookmaker on which numbers will be drawn. This means that any money that would normally go to good causes from your lottery stake actually goes straight to the bookmaker.
It also means that you won’t win the jackpot that the lottery is advertising either; instead, you’ll just get the top prize from that bookmaker which is likely to be a lot smaller.
There are plus points to betting on the lottery with the bookmaker though. The main one is that they will pay out if you pull just 1 number from your set, and they often pay larger sums of money for a lower number of matching balls. For example, 1, 2, and 3 correct numbers will pay more with the bookmakers than with the lottery itself.
Whilst this has its merits, the majority of us play the lottery for that life changing sum of money. Just think how gutted you would be if you matched all the numbers to trigger the jackpot with the bookmaker instead of the lottery, winning just a fraction of the amount you would have won.