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Win Big With the UK National Lottery

May 31, 2008
The National Lottery is the United Kingdom's main lottery game. Since it began in 1994 the National Lottery numbers are drawn every Saturday evening and offers large multi-million tax free lump sum prizes.

To enter the draw costs 1 (approximately $2) and is open to anyone over the age of 16 and who is resident within the United Kingdom. In recent years, global lottery syndicates have been allowed to develop. Basically this is a way for those outside the country to play as part of a syndicate, providing the allocated leader lives in the United Kingdom.

For each play, fifty percent of the fee is allocated to the prize fund and a further twenty-eight percent is donated to what is referred to as a good cause fund. This was stipulated by the government when the National Lottery was established after pressure to ensure that the active encouragement of gambling would provide some general public benefit. Any unclaimed prize money is also donated to this fund.

Since its inception the National Lottery has donated in excess of $40 billion toward good causes. There are many good examples of how this money has been spent. Much of it has helped to build and repair education centres, children's homes and other regeneration projects.

In the early years the National Lottery referred to one weekly draw held on a Saturday evening, but over the last few years many more games such as Thunder Ball and EuroMillions have been added. Below is a brief description of the main games held weekly by the National Lottery.

Lotto: This is the main draw and now takes place every Wednesday and Saturday. Participants are allowed to pick six numbers between one and forty-nine or they can choose the numbers at random at the point of sale.

The draw is made by specialized machines that randomly draw six colored balls and one bonus ball. If you get four numbers correct than a fixed prize of 10 (or approximately $20) is awarded. There are also prizes if you get five numbers or five numbers and the bonus ball. Should a person have all six numbers then they win the jackpot which is around 50 percent of the total lottery money for that week.

On occasion if there is no-one who claims all six numbers the prize money is rolled over on to the next draw, creating a super prize fund.

Lotto Hotpicks: This is designed as an addition to the main lottery numbers. Participants choose whether to guess one, two, three, four or five numbers from the main lotto draw. For example if you selected to pick two numbers, the participant would choose two numbers and both would have to be present in order for a payout.

The total prize money is dependent on how many numbers are successfully picked with a sliding scale of prizes ranging from 5 ($10) up to approximately 130,000 ($260,000).

Thunder Ball: This is a variation on the main lotto game that offers better lottery odds for winning the prize money. Participants choose five numbers plus a bonus ball (the Thunder Ball). Small prizes can be won if a player gets one number plus the bonus ball and the value rises incrementally up to 250,000 ($500,000), if the player gets all five numbers plus the Thunder Ball.

The National Lottery also runs a number of smaller games such as scratch cards that can be bought in most shops and supermarkets. Since 2004, a European version of the original lottery has also been in operation. The draw takes place every Friday evening and is currently played in nine European countries including France and Spain.
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