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UK National Lottery
The UK National Lottery has been operated by the Camelot Group since 1994. The Camelot group has been relicensed by the government again in 2001 and again in 2007. The National Lottery is regulated by the National Lottery Commission. A UK National Lotto ticket costs one pound. Of every pound invested by players in the lottery game, half is forwarded to the collective prize fund. Another 28 pence is invested in the Good Causes fund that was set up by parliament, 12p is passed on to the British Government, 5p constitutes commission for the sellers, and the remaining 5p goes to the operating Camelot Group.
The Good Causes Fund
The Good Causes fund is a program aimed at distributing funds through grants. In March of 2007, during a live draw on a Saturday night, it was announced that the National Lottery had raised 20 billion pounds for Good Causes up to that date. In 1994 the British government put in order the Heritage Lottery Fund, aimed at investing money in local, regional and national heritage. Since its inception the Heritage Fund has provided over 4 billion pounds to more than 26,000 projects.
28% percent of the ticket sales revenue is passed on to the Good Causes as well as money from unclaimed prizes. At the UK National Lottery’s 10th anniversary in 2004 the National Lottery Awards were established. The event occurs once a year and its goal is to offer acknowledgment to the outstanding projects funded by the National Lottery in various categories.
In the UK National Lotto game six numbers are drawn from the range between 1 and 49, in addition to a Bonus Ball. Numbers drawn are taken out of the mix, therefore each number is unique and cannot be repeated. Twelve different machines are used in the Lotto draw as well as eight separate sets of balls. The machine and the ball set are chosen at random just before the draw. The sets of balls are numbered, while the machines all have significant names: Merlin, Arthur, Galahad, Vyvyan, Lancelot, Garnet, Topaz, Opal, Amethyst, Moonstone, Pearl and Sapphire. There also used to be a machine named Guinevere, but she has been retired.
6 numbers and Bonus Ball
Players of the National Lottery must pick six numbers from the range of numbers from 1 to 49. Players who match three or more numbers are eligible for prizes, with larger prizes for players who matched more numbers. Players who match all six of the six numbers drawn win the jackpot. The Bonus Ball comes into play only for those players who match five out of the six Lotto numbers. Those players who match five numbers as well as the Bonus Ball receive a larger prize than those players who matched five of the drawn numbers without the Bonus Ball. When there is more than one winner at a prize level the prize pool is divided between all the winners.
When no player matches all six numbers drawn correctly the jackpot money is rolled over and added to the jackpot money at the next Lotto draw. This roll over can happen only three consecutive draws. A roll over happens quite frequently, but a triple roll over is very rare and has happened only four times in the history of the National Lottery.
National Lottery winners have 180 days from the draw to claim their prizes. Prizes that are left unclaimed for that period of time are given to the Good Causes. In January of 2006 a Lotto ticket worth almost 9.5 million pounds expired.
UK National Lottery draws initially took place only on Saturday nights, the first draw held on November 19, 1994. On February 5, 1997 an additional weekly draw was added on Wednesdays. The draws are broadcast live on BBC1 in the UK.
The UK National Lottery has made many winners and millionaires over the years since its beginning in 1994. It is estimated that 750,000 players win prizes in the UK National Lottery every week. Jackpot winners have a right to anonymity since December of 1994, when the identity of the winner of 17.44 million pounds was leaked to the media and the timid winning ticket holder was tracked down in Blackburn.