National Lottery Betting

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Inaugurated on 19 November 1994, the National Lottery has since become a U.K. institution, raising more than £26 billion for good causes. According to one estimate, some 70% of all adults in the U.K. play the Lottery on a regular basis, while the brand and its crossed fingers logo is recognised by some 95% of the British population.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is the branch of the Government responsible for National Lottery policy, setting the financial framework within which the distributing bodies for National Lottery grants operate. Meanwhile, a non-departmental public body, the National Lottery Commission, takes responsibility for regulation and licensing of the National Lottery.

On three occasions, the operating rights for the National Lottery have been put to bid, and in all cases the successful tender was submitted by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited. The most recent ten-year contract was awarded to Camelot in 2007, effective from 2009. The Company offers a number of games under the National Lottery auspices, including EuroMillions, Thunderball and Lotto.

Apart from draw-based games, such as Lotto, a number of Scratchcards and online Interactive Instant Win Games are available. Players may participate by purchasing Tickets at any of approximately 28,000 National Lottery retailers throughout the U.K. or via the Internet at national-lottery.co.uk.

Additionally, FastPay outlets have been established at supermarket checkouts, and a new mobile device function allows play by text, too. Over 96 percent of the U.K. population live or work within two miles of a National Lottery terminal.

Revenues received from National Lottery betting are distributed among a number of groups. Out of each £1 wagered, roughly 50p is returned to winners as prizes, while 28p goes towards good causes. Among those causes are the arts, heritage, sport, charities and community and voluntary groups as well as supporting projects concerned with health, education, the environment.

About 12p is set aside for the Government as “Lottery Duty” and the remaining 10p is split equally between National Lottery retailers and the lottery operator, Camelot. Currently, some £2.2 billion the proceeds of the National Lottery are also being allocated in support of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Since its launch, the National Lottery has awarded over £34 billion in total prizes, creating more than 2,000 millionaires. It returns a greater proportion of revenue back to society than any other lottery operator in the world (some 40 percent of sales). High standards of player protection are maintained, including accreditation by GamCare, the U.K.’s national centre for information, advice and practical help regarding the social impact of gambling.

Of all the games offered under the National Lottery brand, Lotto is the U.K.’s biggest millionaire-maker game. All it requires is selecting six numbers from a range of 1 to 49. If all six selections match the ones drawn at random, the top prize—£2.2 million at present—is awarded to the winner.

The Lotto draw is conducted every Wednesday and Saturday. In addition to the six Main numbers drawn, one additional number is chosen—the Bonus Number. Anyone who matches a minimum of three numbers to the Main numbers wins a prize. The Bonus Number comes into play only when five Main numbers have been matched.

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