From October 2015, the UK Lottery altered the odds of winning quite dramatically by adding 10 new numbers to the draw, so you now need to draw 6 winning numbers from 59 (instead of 49) in order to win the jackpot. Whilst the odds of winning any prize have been reduced to 1 in 9.3 (from 1 in 54) this has been achieved by introducing a new prize (of a free lucky dip) for matching 2 numbers.
The odds of actually becoming a millionaire have, however, also been improved slightly (from 1 in 14 million) to 1 in 10 million - as the raffle draw has been increased to include both a £200,000 prize and a £1 million prize.
That said, at £2 a ticket, you are still better off either playing in a syndicate, such as that offered by LoveMyLotto, or by playing the alternative, Health Lottery.
The Jackpot - 6 Numbers (Typical prize: £2 million)
6 numbers are drawn at random from the set of integers between 1 and 59, which means there are 59!/(6!*(59-6)!) combinations of numbers - this means that the jackpot chance is 1 in 45,057,474 or approximately 1 in 45 million.
5 Numbers + Bonus Number (Typical prize: £50,000)
You are still matching 6 numbers from the 1 to 59 set as above, but you can now do it in 6 different ways (by dropping each of the main numbers in turn), therefore the chance is 1 in 45,057,474/6, which works out as 1 in 7,509,579.
5 Numbers (Typical prize: £1,000)
This is 52 times more likely than getting 5 numbers + the bonus number - the chance is 1 in 7,509,579/52, which evaluates to 1 in 144,415.
4 Numbers (Typical prize: £100)
Firstly, let's take the case of the first 4 of your numbers matching and the last 2 not matching.
In this single case (where each set of chances relies on the previous event occurring):
Chance that your 1st number matches a winning lottery number is 1 in 59/6.
Chance that your 2nd number matches a winning lottery number is 1 in 58/5.
Chance that your 3rd number matches a winning lottery number is 1 in 57/4.
Chance that your 4th number matches a winning lottery number is 1 in 56/3.
Chance that your 5th number doesn't match a winning number is 1 in 55/(55-2) [because there are still 2 unmatched winning numbers].
Chance that your 6th number doesn't match a winning number is 1 in 54/(54-2) [yes, still 2 unmatched winning numbers].
Now you need to accumulate all those chances by multiplying them together:
1 in (59/6)*(58/5)*(57/4)*(56/3)*(55/53)*(54/52) which is 1 in 32,697.73.
Now this is the chance for that single case occurring, but there are 15 combinations of matching 4 from 6, so you divide the answer by 15 to get 1 in 32697.73/15 or 1 in 2179.85.
3 Numbers (Constant prize: £10)
Follow exactly the same scheme as the 4 match above to get these figures:
1 in (59/6)*(58/5)*(57/4)*(56/53)*(55/52)*(54/51) (which is 1 in 1923.40) for a single case.
There are 20 combinations of 3 from 6, so the chance of a 3 match is 1 in 1923.40/20 or 1 in 96.2.
2 Numbers (Constant prize: Lucky Dip in the next draw - worth £2)
Follow exactly the same scheme as the 3 match above to get these figures:
1 in (59/6)*(58/5)*(57/53)*(56/52)*(55/51)*(54/50) (which is 1 in 153.87) for a single case.
There are 15 combinations of 2 from 6, so the chance of a 2 match is 1 in 153.87/15 or 1 in 10.3.
Raffle Draw (Constant prizes of £1m and £20,000)
For each set of 6 numbers you purchase, you will also receive a raffle ticket code. One code is drawn in each draw to win a prize of £1m and one code is drawn to win a prize of £200,000.
The odds of winning depend on how many tickets have been sold!
The chance of you winning any of the above prizes is approximately 9.3 to 1 - it is reckoned an average of one million people per draw will win a prize.
Because the UK national lottery is a pure game of chance, there is only one way of increasing your chances of winning - enter more times! However, at the cost of £2 per ticket, you would have to look to spend £200 to have a high chance of winning even £10 in one draw. It is for this reason that many people look to join a syndicate at work or with their friends, so that you get several entries into a draw and then just have to share out the winnings between everyone (presuming you trust each other and everyone puts their money into the syndicate each week).
This website is run by Rich Mellor t/as Play Lotto - an independent promoter.