In the past, lottery players could only participate in lotteries drawn in their country of residence. However, the digital revolution and the advent of online lottery concierge services have meant that gamblers can now get involved with lottos hosted in locations around the world.
Now players from all around world can try their luck playing the largest lottery jackpots offered regardless of where they are. Whether you live in England and love the US's Powerball or live in Spain and love the Irish Lotto, online lottery play makes it all possible. To help you pick the most promising draws, here's a guide to some of the world's most popular lotteries.
State lotteries, like the New York Lotto, are extremely common throughout the US, with a total of 44 state lotteries currently in play. The rules and frequency of each draw vary from state to state, but generally players choose five to seven numbers, plus one or two bonus balls.
Many US states also participate in massive multi-state lotteries: the Powerball draw has 36 member states, while Mega Millions has 46 member localities. With a minimum $40 million jackpot, Powerball draws are hosted every Wednesday and Saturday night. To play, entrants select five numbers from 69 white balls, plus a single bonus number from 26 red balls. All five numbers and the bonus number must be matched to win the main jackpot.
Mega Millions rules make it slightly tougher to win the top prize than for Powerball. Although players choose five main numbers, those are from 75 lottery balls. However, the lottery is more generous for the bonus ball, as players only need to match the bonus from 15 balls. A match of all six numbers is needed to claim the top prize, which begins at $15 million and increases by at least $5 million with each rollover.
EuroMillions is a transnational lottery draw operated by nine member organisations from the UK, France, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. Players select five main numbers from 1 to 50 and two Lucky Stars from 1 to 11. To claim the jackpot, winners must match all seven numbers.
As there are so many participating countries and residents, it's no surprise that lottery jackpots can grow to huge sums. For the top tier prize (Match 5 + 2 Lucky Stars), which has odds of 1 in 116,531,800, the average winning sum is a whopping £38,556,436.68.
There is also no limit on how many times the EuroMillions Jackpot can roll over, although once it reaches €190 million it is then capped for a maximum of two draws. If there's still no winner after the second draw, the funds roll down to the next prize tier.
The National Lottery is the main operator in the UK, where residents can enter the Lotto, Thunderball and Lotto Hotpicks draws. The Lotto draw is the main event, taking place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Each Lotto draw is guaranteed to start at £1 million and will roll over until there is a winner. To hit the jackpot, players must match all six of the numbers drawn randomly from 1 to 59 – but an extra bonus ball draw can help players climb to higher prize tiers.
Thunderball entrants choose five numbers from 1 to 39, along with a single Thunderball from 1 to 14. The top £500,000 jackpot can only be won by players who match all six numbers on their ticket. Lotto Hotpicks tickets require players to choose five numbers from 1 to 59. A top prize of £350,000 is awarded to players who match all five.
Italy's SuperEnalotto has been in business since 1997. Players can enter three times a week in draws hosted on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. Entrants pay €1 for two lines of numbers: each line consists of six numbers from 1 to 90 plus a bonus, and players can also enter a SuperStar number (taken from a different machine) that can help create wins or multiply winnings.
SuperEnalotto is particularly appealing because, although the odds of hitting the top tier jackpot are very slim (1 in 622,614,630), jackpots can also grow to enormous amounts, as there are no caps or roll-down measures in place. There is also no tax on winnings (for Italian residents) and jackpots have been known to climb as high as €177,800,000, following eight months of rollovers.
Spain’s main lottery is called La Primitiva. Currently, players can enter biweekly draws hosted on Thursdays and Saturdays. Under La Primitiva rules, players pick six numbers from 1 to 49, while their Reintegro number is chosen at random. Thanks to Spanish legislation, La Primitiva has to allocate 70% of all ticket revenue to the prize fund, which is considerably more than SuperEnalotto's 34.6% or the UK Lotto's 47.5%.
To win the biggest prize in La Primitiva, players have to match all six numbers plus the randomly assigned 'Reintegro' number. Hundreds of thousands of euros are awarded for matching six main numbers or five main numbers and a Reintegro. La Primitiva jackpots start at €3 million and grow quickly with rollovers – the largest La Primitiva jackpot stands at €66.6 million and was won by a single (lucky!) ticket holder.
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