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 todraw 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.
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
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
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
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).
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