Jackpots Across the Sea: Examining the Differences Between the Irish and UK Lotteries


Jun 11, 2024
Irish and UK LotteriesIrish and UK Lotteries


Most lottery players know that all lotteries are not created equal. As such, they tend to jump from one lottery game to the other looking for chances to win massive jackpots. This guide explores two of the biggest lotteries across Europe, the Irish Lottery and the UK Lottery, to demystify the nuances between the two games so you can understand how they differ from each other. Read on! 

Game Structure 

The game structure is one of the major factors differentiating these two lotteries. Here is how each game is structured. 

Irish National Lottery

The Irish government established the Irish Lottery in 1986 to raise funds for good causes in Ireland. Its first draw took place on March 16, 1988. The Irish Lottery offers several games, including Lotto, EuroMillions, Daily Millions, and Telly Bingo.

Essentially, the Irish Lotto offers two draws: Lotto and Lotto Plus. Players need to pick six numbers from 1 to 47 to play, with the option of selecting the numbers themselves or choosing Quick Pick to get random numbers. 

Players typically buy a minimum of two lines, with each line costing €2. Moreover, for an extra €1 per line, you can enter the Lotto Plus 1, Lotto Plus 2 draws and a Plus Raffle. Theoretically, this means you’ll have three more chances of winning. 

UK Lottery

The UK Lottery was launched on November 14, 1994. The creators aimed to raise money for various public sectors, including the arts, education, environment, and health.

Allwyn Entertainment LTD took over operation of the lottery in February 2024 and currently runs it. The UK Lotto features several games, including Lotto, EuroMillions, Set for Life, and Thunderball. 

To play the UK Lotto, choose six numbers from 1 to 59. You can choose your own numbers or have them randomly generated with a Lucky Dip.

Each line costs £2, with draws taking place twice a week—on Wednesdays and Saturdays. To win the jackpot, you must match all the six winning numbers. There are also additional prizes for matching fewer numbers plus the bonus ball. You can purchase tickets at authorised retailers or online.

Jackpots and Prizes 

Here is how the UK and Irish Lotteries differ in terms of prize structure. 

The Irish Lotto

The Irish Lotto offers two main draws: Lotto and Lotto Plus. Lotto starts at a decent €2 million, while Lotto Plus offers €1 million. If there’s no winner after the draw, the jackpot rolls over. We add the unwon amount to the next draw. This amount can become very high if no winner emerges in consecutive draws.

To win the jackpot, you need to match six numbers. However, you can also win several other prizes for matching fewer numbers. The lowest prize in the Irish Lotto is €3 and you can get it after matching two main numbers and the bonus ball. 

Note that the odds of winning the Irish Lotto or the Lotto Plus are 1 in 10,737,573. Though high, the Irish Lotto offers much better winning chances than the EuroMillions, which has 1 in 139,838,160 odds of winning. 

The UK Lottery 

The UK Lotto offers substantial jackpots and multiple prize tiers. The jackpot starts at £2 million and rolls over if not won. It can even roll over up to 5 times. 

In a ‘Must Be Won’ draw, on the fifth attempt, players who have matched two or more main numbers share the prize. Prizes are awarded for matching as few as two main numbers, with amounts increasing if the players match three, four, five, or five plus the bonus ball. Matching all six numbers wins the ultimate jackpot.

Under the UK Lottery, you can also play the EuroMillions with a jackpot of £190 million, Set for Life £10,000 paid monthly for 30 years, or Thunderball jackpot of £500,000. The odds of winning the UK Lotto are 1 in 45,057,474, Set for Life 1 in 15,339,390, and Thunderball 1 in 8,060,597. 

All winnings are usually tax-free. It’s worth noting that where to collect the winnings will depend on the amount and how you played. In that case, you can collect small prizes from official retailers, but for larger prizes, you’ll have to contact the UK Lotto customer service for directions. 

Final Thought 

The UK and Irish Lotteries are a top choice for punters in the UK. However, there are notable differences, like jackpot size and odds of winning. Whichever you choose to play, ensure you buy tickets from legit sellers.

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