Frequently Asked Questions about UK National Lottery Tickets
- Where can I buy a ticket in person ?
At the moment there are about 30,350 lottery terminals - most large Post Offices, large supermarkets and large newsagents (e.g. W.H. Smith) currently have them. Note that Camelot have admitted that some initial vendors were badly selected and will have their lottery terminals removed if they haven't met expected sales quotas.
No. I was staggered to learn that people were actually buying lottery tickets for loved ones as Christmas presents. These became worthless after the draw of course (unless they'd won) and then there'd probably be big arguments about who should have the money if a big prize was won by the gifted ticket. Checking out the rules, it appears that gifting tickets is OK [provided the person gifting them hasn't written their own name on the back !], but you are not allowed to re-sell tickets to someone else.
Since the organisers retain winning tickets when someone submits them to claim a prize, they issue an "Exchange Ticket", which is a reprint of the ticket [with the draw range reduced to the remaining draws only].
Yes, but you have only 15 minutes to do so - you get a full refund if you return it to where you bought it from within that period. Note that the latest design of a UK lottery ticket now has a void box for the retailer to fill in to void a ticket that's been returned for such a refund. After the 15 minutes refund period has expired, you cannot cancel a ticket, even if it's a Multi-Draw ticket.
About once every 6 months on average. You have the same odds of winning regardless as to whether you keep the same numbers for every draw or change them every draw, which is a concrete fact that seems to be lost on a lot of people out there.
It is basically a ticket generator on a lottery terminal that generates one or more sets of 6 random numbers without the need for a playslip and was officially launched on Sunday 17th March 1996. At the same time, the original 5-board playslip was extended to a 7-board version and each board now has a checkbox next to it to allow the player to choose Lucky Dip. This permits a single playslip to include a mixture of player-picked and Lucky Dip tickets.
Lucky Dip really should have been included on lottery terminals from the start, because a lot of people fill in the numbers at random. The reason for its exclusion for so long was to increase the chance of a rollover (and Camelot makes a lot of money from rollovers) because Lucky Dip would use more combinations than manual selection of numbers and hence make a rollover less likely. If you wish, you can use a WWW version of Lucky Dip instead.
About 70% of lotteries around the world have a Lucky Dip
facility on their terminals, though it's more commonly known as Quick Pick and was described as such in the early Camelot rule book until they decided to be "different" and change its name. In New Zealand, 50% of players use Quick Pick. whereas in Ireland only 10% do. UK Lucky Dip sales are currently about 15% of on-line ticket sales.
It appears that it's a straightforward pseudo-random number generator seeded by the clock on the terminal (although I'd also expect the retailer terminal number to be used as well to ensure a unique start seed). Note that the terminal software doesn't prevent a Lucky Dip playslip from generating two or more identical sets of 6 random numbers. This is quite surprising because although it would give the player a bigger share of the jackpot if they won, it doesn't improve their chances of actually winning a prize. I wouldn't be surprised to see some people return to the store and ask for a refund if this happened (in fact, it did happen to someone, who later e-mailed me about it).
Camelot's official line is that knowing the exact frequencies of numbers chosen by the general public might influence people's choice of numbers in future lotteries (i.e. everyone will dive for the least popular numbers in the hope of getting a unique set of 6 numbers). Having said that, Camelot do occasionally release information to the press about certain aspects of purchased tickets:
- The most chosen combination of 6 numbers is 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42.
- About 10,000 tickets are bought for each draw with the combination 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- 40% of players choose the same 6 numbers for each draw.
- 42% of players choose a different set for each draw.
- 18% of players choose a mixture of fixed and random tickets.
My advice is to buy a second ticket with a different set of numbers because you can no longer win the outright jackpot with the original set of numbers. In fact, any prize won by the original ticket will time out after 180 days and end up in the National Lottery Distribution Fund, which would no doubt annoy any other jackpot winners of the same draw if that ticket had won the jackpot - they'd get a proportionately smaller jackpot share.
Contact Camelot and tell them your full details, including where you bought the ticket from. I cannot stress this point enough: it is vital that you put your name and address on the back of your ticket as soon as possible after purchasing it. This prevents someone else from claiming any major prize the ticket has won. If your stolen ticket didn't have your name and address on, then it's going to be much more difficult to prove your case.