A joint venture between national lottery operators from the UK, France and Spain led to the inaugural EuroMillions draw in February 2004. Since then, a small host of other European operators have signed up to EuroMillions, and there's now a total of nine participating countries. Draws are hosted twice a week at 9pm (GMT) on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The rules of EuroMillions are fairly simple: players must choose five numbers from 1 to 50 for the first part of the draw. They also need to select two Lucky Star numbers from 1 to 11 for the second part of the draw. Matching all numbers to win the jackpot prize is extremely tricky, given that the odds are 1 in 116,531,800.
UK players have the added benefit of receiving one entry into the Millionaire Maker draw for every EuroMillions line played. This is a feature exclusive to UK entrants, and means that one winner receives a £1 million prize each time a EuroMillions draw takes place. Entrants get a randomly generated code that's automatically put into a raffle: only an exact match secures the prize.
EuroMillions has a guaranteed minimum jackpot of €15 million, but this can increase substantially after weeks of rollovers. If the jackpot rolls over until it reaches €190 million, it is capped and held at that level for a maximum of two draws. At that point, the €190 million sum gets rolled down into the next prize tier.
Including the main jackpot, there are 13 EuroMillions prize tiers in total. The following successful matches will yield winnings, starting with the biggest and working down:
You can participate in a EuroMillions draw by purchasing tickets ahead of the Tuesday and Friday evening draws. If you prefer to buy tickets in person, there are plenty of licensed retailers dotted throughout the UK (and in other participating countries in Europe): you can play up to seven lines on each ticket, and retailers are allowed to sell up to 10 tickets at a time.
Tickets are also available online from the National Lottery website, and there's a handy Direct Debit service on offer for players who want to secure ongoing entries for the biweekly draws. You can check the latest EuroMillions results by going to the National Lottery website or Euro-Millions.com. A quicker option, however, is to download the EuroMillions app, available for both Apple iOS and Android devices. Open the app and you can check results immediately after the latest draw. Live draws aren't currently broadcast on TV, but you can watch past draws via the National Lottery YouTube channel.
In the UK, lucky winners have a choice between claiming winnings online or in-store, but limits are in place for the latter method. Licensed National Lottery vendors can cover the following prizes:
The luckiest of players who win over £50,000 will have to contact the National Lottery on 0844 338 7551 and arrange a meeting in person to claim the winnings. Meanwhile, a similar procedure has been implemented for claiming online lottery winnings:
A final thing to note is that, unlike many other major lotteries, EuroMillions doesn't offer an annuity option for jackpot winners – it pays out the full cash amount (tax-free), making it an especially attractive option. Those playing online using a concierge service (who aren't resident in one of the participating EU countries) may be subject to other tax requirements.