UK Lotto History: Tracing the Origin of Lotto in Great Britain

The origin of UK lotto can be traced back to the year 1994 when a nationwide sweepstakes was organized for the first time on 19th November. Talking about Lotto history in the context of United Kingdom, comprising the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the sweepstake was named ‘National Lottery’ during the run-up to its launch, and the title has stuck ever since. The National Lottery franchise is controlled by the state-regulated ‘National Lottery Commission’, an organization that was incorporated on 1st April 1999.

Lotto history

Camelot Group was granted the license to operate the UK National lotto in 1994. The lottery corporate was again offered fresh licenses to conduct the sweepstakes in 2001 and thereafter in 2007.

Significant landmarks in the history of Lotto in UK

There are some really startling facts and figures about UK Lotto history that many would find immensely interesting. Anybody reading this article will not have any problem in recollecting the facts pertaining to the history of Lotto in United Kingdom as the same have been presented in a chronological sequence. Following the announcement and holding of the first draw in 1994, the Lotto purse with the highest amount (£22.5 million) on a particular ticket is won by Paul Maddison and Mark Gardiner, business partners hailing from East Sussex, in 1995.

The largest jackpot to be ever announced in the lottery history of UK amounting to £42 million was divided equally amongst three players bearing tickets with the lucky numbers. The winners preferred to remain anonymous as they never declared their names. In the first few years, draws for the jackpot and the additional monetary awards were organized every Saturday.

Old UK Lotto logo

Illustration of Old UK Lotto logo

However, from 1997 onwards, another weekly sweepstake was introduced every Wednesday. The debut Wednesday lottery was held on 5th November 1997. The title of the countrywide raffle, ‘National Lottery’ underwent a change in 2002 as from 18th May onwards, the lottery was rechristened, ‘Lotto’. Nine years later in 2011, the rollover ceiling limit in UK lotto history is increased to four from three thereby opening up possibilities for more participants to win larger takings.

A jackpot of £19.5 resulting from the first fourfold rollover is carved up amongst and between five lucky winners. A slew of changes were brought about in 2013 with effect from 5th October. For instance, the value of jackpot offerings went up; a Lotto Raffle was launched where every draw gave away 50 prizes in total with each valued at £20,000.

On the other hand, the game ‘Lotto Plus 5’ was withdrawn. Also, one had to pay £2 to purchase a ticket, instead of the £1 which was hitherto in force. However, the ticket price of ‘Thunderball’ remained unchanged at £1. Some significant alterations were again introduced in 2015 that became operative from 8th October 2015.

The limit of quadruple rollovers is revoked which meant that jackpots had chances of hitting the £50milion ceiling. ‘Lotto Raffle’ is substituted with ‘Lotto Millionaire’ that guaranteed a £1 million jackpot for the grand winner in each and every draw, besides the winnings of £20,000, 20 in all. Until now, players were required to select from a pool or collection of 49 numbers which was increased to 59.

The prize money for matching five of the figures or numerals picked up in the draw rises to £3, 50,000.  In 2016, a whopping Lotto jackpot valued at £66 million was divided equally between two participants whose ticket numbers corresponded with those of the draw. The upcoming UK Lotto draw is scheduled to be held on 23d December, a Saturday in which 200 ticket holders are slated to win a reward of £20,000, individually.

Additional info on UK Lotto

All takings awarded by Lotto are handed out as single, one-time payment, and are not subject to taxation. 50% of all proceeds from tickets sales are used for financing the sweepstakes, 12% are claimed by the government of UK as tax, and 28% is set aside by the Parliament for spending on good causes. Retailers and ticket sellers get 5% as commission, another 5% is claimed by Camelot, the lottery operator, 4.5% is reimbursed for operating expenses, and the remaining 0.5% is accounted as profit. Scratch cards and lottery tickets are sold only to persons who have attained the age of 16.

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