The National Lottery £2.2M Jackpot – Where to Play

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‘The lotto’ in the UK, older than you think!

You may think that the UK lottery began in the mid 1990s. If you do, then close, but you won’t be smoking a big fat cigar, just yet!

Did you know that the first national UK lottery was created in 1566? The object of this ancient lottery was to raise funds for the “reparation of the havens and strength of the Realme, and towardes such other publique good workes”. All prizes were donated, and everyone who obtained a ticket won a prize. Patience was a virtue though as the lottery was not drawn until 1569!

The UK began an official ‘English State Lottery’ in 1694, and amazingly, this lottery ran until 1826. The UK government eventually put an end to the lottery due to corruption and dwindling interest.

The lottery in the UK – the second coming

For many years in the UK the only hope people had of winning sizeable chunks of cash was with the football pools, but in 1993 plans for a new UK lottery were first mooted. These plans became concrete when the then Prime Minister John Major awarded the franchise to the Camelot Group, who later announced that the first UK draw would take place on 25 May 1994.

The first draw was held after a ticket-buying frenzy, and TV superstar Noel Edmonds was brought in to host a special show on the BBC who were to broadcast the draw. In the end a jackpot of £5,874,778 was shared between seven lucky jackpot winners.

Interest in the lottery held steady for several years, but by 2002 fewer and fewer people where purchasing lottery tickets in the hope of becoming instant millionaires. The National Lottery re-vamped itself as ‘Lotto’, while extra games were added to combat increasing disinterest, such as Lotto Hotpicks, Lotto Extra and Thunderball.

Interest picked up again towards the end of the 2000s, as the prizes started to increase. New records were set as people began to buy more lottery tickets in the hope of that all-important super cash jackpot. By 2016 some jackpots had increased ten-fold from the scale of jackpots from when the lottery began. A new record of £66 million was set in January 2016 – a jackpot that was shared by two ticket winners.

Changes to the UK lotto

In October 2015 a few changes were made to the UK lotto. The number of balls was raised from 49 to 59, meaning the odds of winning a jackpot rose from 14 million-to-one to 45 million-to-one. Additionally, matching two balls now wins a free Lucky Dip ticket, and the maximum rollover limit of four weeks was scrapped.

Like most lotteries, the UK National Lottery can now be played online. You can buy tickets directly via Camelot’s website, or you can use an online lottery service provider to purchase tickets for you or you can wager on the numbers drawn. These latter options are particularly useful for online players who are not resident in the UK.

Despite the recent changes the UK lotto remains extremely popular – Brits spend over £7,500 million on lottery tickets every year.