Lotto players encouraged to double check their slip as they could win a free lucky dip

Don’t ignore that free lucky dip – it could bag you a big win! Many lotto players likely to ignore a free game when they match two numbers

  • Matching two main numbers means you are eligible for a free lucky dip ticket
  • Rolldown also means that players are more likely to win a bigger prize 
  • Customers are advised to check their tickets to see if they could still win  

Lotto players are being urged to double check tickets as they could be in for a pleasant surprise.

Many may not know that matching two main numbers on a Lotto ticket means they are eligible for a free lucky dip ticket for a Wednesday or Saturday draw. 

Camelot – who run the draw – could not confirm how many free lucky dip tickets get passed up each month, but one reader recently told us of a £109 win after his free ticket in turn matched three numbers.

He was automatically entered into the draw as he plays online. 

Lucky Dips are randomly generated numbers entered into the Lotto & covers numbers 1 to 59

This game change came into effect in October 2015 – shortly after the ticket price went up to £2.

Many players that have bought a physical ticket since that time may have missed out as it is their responsibility to check their ticket and redeem their free lucky dip.

Those who play online automatically receive a free ticket and will be given the option to decide whether they would like to be entered into a future draw on either a Wednesday or a Saturday.

Lucky dips are randomly generated numbers entered into the Lotto – as opposed to chosen numbers by the player themselves.

All game prizes must be claimed within 180 days after the day of the draw so anyone with a Lotto ticket tucked away should check as soon as possible to see if they’re eligible for a free lucky dip. 

Save ‘free’ lucky dips for jackpot rolldown draws? 

This isn’t the only way that players could get their hands on big prizes.

Winners of the Lotto could find their winnings more than tripled if they win when there is a ‘must be won’ draw.

A Lotto rolls over each week if no one has all matching numbers to win the jackpot. 

However, this can only be done five times before it becomes a must be won draw. These changes were made in November 2018 and since then, there have been 16 must win draws. 

This suggests that outright winners of the Lotto have dwindled in recent years, matching five balls and the jackpot.  

If no one matches all six main numbers on a must win draw, the jackpot is shared by all winners through all of the winning cash prize tiers – match 5+bonus, match 5, match 4 and even match 3 – boosting each individual prize amount.

Each winning cash prize tier is allocated a set percentage of the jackpot, for example, if someone was due to win £1,750 as they matched five numbers, they could actually win a massive £10,500 instead – a huge increase of 500 per cent. 

Those that match five numbers and the bonus ball could win a massive £1.2million compared with the initial £1million prize – an increase of 20 per cent. 

Even those who matched three numbers and were due to win £30 could receive £100 instead – more than triple the original amount.

That is what happened to our reader who plays online. 

He matched three numbers. In the original Lotto days, this would have resulted in a flat £10 win.

But when numbers 50-59 were added in October 2015, the odds became far longer and thus, the prizes bigger.  

Matching three numbers returns a £30 prize. However, the jackpot rolldown turned it into £109. It is likely Camelot brought in this must win element thanks to high numbers of rollovers. 

Those who play a must be won are more likely to win a higher prize, even if they don’t have matching numbers, but not a better chance of winning in the first place. 

This suggests it might be worth using the free lucky dip prizes for these draws.

Camelot couldn’t reveal how many of the ‘free’ lucky dip tickets had not been claimed but it does publicise prizes over £50,000 that are still unclaimed within the 180 day claim period to encourage players to claim.

In the financial year 2018 to 2019, it awarded £4.1billion in prizes to players. 

Of this amount, £125.1million in prizes went unclaimed and was passed over to good causes – equivalent to just three per cent of all prize money available to be paid in 2018 to 2019. 

‘I won £2.7m in one of the first ever Lotto’s’ 

One of the first people to win the lottery was Elaine Thompson from Newcastle, who scooped the jackpot in her late 30s.

Elaine and her husband Derek won £2.7m in one of the first National Lottery draws

Elaine and her husband Derek won £2.7m in one of the first National Lottery draws

On Saturday 9 December 1995, she and her husband, Derek, won £2.7million – making them the 53rd winners of the National Lottery.

Elaine said: ‘I was sitting with my children watching the television and when the lottery numbers came up, I recognised the numbers and said we’ve won a tenner but after properly checking my ticket, I realised we had won millions.’ 

Generous Elaine gave a million pounds to her brother after winning and admits that whilst she didn’t invest the money and give herself an annual allowance, her husband is an accountant so looking after money carefully wasn’t too much of an issue.

Now Elaine and Derek give advice to lottery winners and the first thing they say to new millionaires is ‘take a holiday’.

The couple still play the lottery every week after their win 24 years ago out of habit and are still happily living off their winnings. 


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