The U.K. Lotto game known as 49s is a twice daily draw. It takes place at lunchtime (around 1pm) and teatime (around 5pm) everyday, 365 days a year. Like most forms of Lotto, 49s requires the player to choose numbers from a field of 49 numbers. If all of the numbers selected match the ones picked in the draw, the player wins a cash prize at fixed odds.
The operator of this particular version of the game is 49s Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, with headquarters in London. Bets can be made through participating bookmakers, betting shops and online Lotto sites, such as ladbrokes, betfred, william hill and others.
There are several special aspects to 49s that make it a particularly attractive game. Six winning numbers are drawn for each of the day’s two draws, plus a “booster ball,” bringing the total number of potential winners that can be matched to seven. Players thus have the option of participating in either the full 7-ball 49s draw or the standard 6-ball 49s draw at higher odds.
Also, players may wager on 1 to 5 numbers from the 49 in each draw. The odds paid for playing and matching all selections can vary from bookmaker to bookmaker, so it is strongly recommended to compare payout rates before betting.
For example, when playing the 7-ball 49s game with the “booster ball” in play, a correct selection of 5 out of 5 numbers pays 40,000 to 1 at ladbrokes but 50,000 to 1 at betfred. Similarly, choosing 3 out of 3 correctly on the standard 6-ball 49s game will pay 600 to 1 at ladbrokes but 700 to 1 at betfred.
The following table taken from william hill can be used as a general guide to payouts on a successful £1 wager for each of the possible variations:
Online bookmakers each have their own software for allowing selection of numbers, but many offer an option called “Lucky Dip,” whereby clicking a button will automatically select 3, 4 or 5 numbers for the player at random. It may also be possible to wager on up to eight “lines” of numbers per draw for up to eight consecutive draws.
Such automation certainly makes playing 49s easy, and the availability of two draws per day provides plenty of opportunity for betting and eager anticipation. Many sites require that wager be made at least two hours before the actual draw. Others allow bets to be made right up to a few minutes before the winning numbers begin to appear.
All dates and times displayed on the lottery pages of bookmakers’ web sites are in U.K. time unless otherwise noted. Players are responsible for confirming the numbers selected, the version of the game played, the date/time of the draw and the amount wagered before making the bet. Changes cannot be made once the betting slip has been issued.
Some additional “House Rules” on wagering that players should be aware of include those related to delayed or cancelled draws as well as any limitations on payouts. William Hill, for instance, limits the maximum payout to any one customer or group/syndicate of customers, including bets from the same source, to £250,000 on any one lottery draw.