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The Facts And Figures Behind The National Lottery

The National Lottery has created 5000 new millionaires.

The National Lottery has created 5,000 new millionaires since it was launched in 1994. There are lots of other great facts and figures about the National Lottery, from how much it gives to charity to its biggest ever jackpot. But let’s be honest, you want to know how likely you are to win it. You’ll find that stat and a lot more in this article. 

How many people play the national lottery? 

Once upon a time, 46% of people in the UK played the National Lottery on a regular basis – making it one of the most popular ways of gambling in the UK. But in recent years the number of people playing the lottery has dipped sharply, with reports suggesting that just 32% of people are now frequent lottery players. 

There are many potential reasons for the decline in the National Lottery’s gambling numbers – fears over Brexit, wage stagnation, or simply shifts in betting habits – but the odds of winning shouldn’t be one of them. Why? Because rated against other countries around the world, the UK’s lottery gives you the second-best chance of winning some money. as the stats below show: 

Type Of Lottery

Chance Of Winning Money

French Lotto


UK Lotto


Spanish Lotto


Austrian Lotto




MegaMillions (US)


PowerBall (US)




Irish Lotto


German Lotto


However, while the National Lottery has great odds when compared to other lotteries, you’re a lot less likely to win money from it than you are from some of the most popular online casino games. For example, if you gamble at LeoVegas then your odds of winning some money are: 

Casino Game

Chance Of Winning Money











After seeing those figures, it won’t surprise you to learn that while fewer people are playing the National Lottery, more and more people are gambling at online casinos. 

Facts & figures of National Lottery winners 

Since being launched in 1994, the National Lottery has made its name on giving ordinary people the chance to become millionaires for as little as £1. As it’s now been in operation for over 25 years, there are plenty of facts and figures about the National Lottery winners – here are a few of our favourites: 

  • 133: The most winners for a single jackpot. This came in January 1995, with each player winning £122,510.

  • £161,653,000: The biggest jackpot won. Colin and Chris Weir shared the EuroMillions winnings in July 2011, netting them £80,826,500 each. 

  • £123,458,008: Largest jackpot claimed by a single person. An anonymous player won the June 2019 EuroSuperdraw. 

  • 87: The oldest lotto winner. Dennis Banfield and his wife Shirley (83) scooped the February 2018 prize, then shared the winnings with their daughters.  

  • 19 November 1994: Date of the first-ever UK National Lottery. A £5,874,778 jackpot was shared between seven winners. 

While it’s has made a lot of millionaires and paid out some enormous winnings, the UK lottery’s biggest jackpot pales in comparison to the largest ever from a national lottery. How much was that? $1.59 billion. 

That prize came from the January 2016 Powerball prize in the US, with Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, Marvin and Mae Acosta, John and Lisa Robinson of Tennessee sharing the winnings – netting them $327.8 million each. 

What happens to your money when you buy a lottery ticket? 

Spending as little as £1 on a National Lottery gives you the opportunity to become a multi-millionaire. But where does that £1 go? The UK Gambling Commission compiled an average breakdown of how the National Lottery spends your £1 – you may be surprised to discover just how much of it ends up back in players pockets: 

  • £0.55: prize money paid back to lottery players 

  • £0.24: given to good and charitable causes 

  • £0.12: lottery duty paid to the UK government 

  • £0.05: money kept by the operator (Camelot)

  • £0.04: paid to retailers who sell lottery tickets 

The National Lottery made £7.2 billion from ticket sales in the year ending 31 March 2019, meaning that over £3 billion was paid back to lottery players in the last financial year.

However, while it’s important to know you have a good chance of winning some money when playing the lottery, some of the most impressive facts and figures about the National Lottery concern how much it spends on good causes – meaning that when you buy a lottery ticket you’re also giving to charity.  

Since it was launched in 1994, the National Lottery has paid around £40 billion to good causes. How is this money shared out? For the year ending 31st March 2019, it was divided like this: 

  • 40%: Charitable causes, education, environment, and health 

  • 20%: Arts

  • 20%: Heritage 

  • 20%: Sport

What numbers come up most often in the National Lottery?

Learning how much money it pays to charitable causes is great, but there’s one set of stats everyone who plays the National Lottery really wants to know – which numbers appear on winning tickets most frequently. 

While you can get a full rundown of how each lottery ball has performed by checking these lotto statistics, we’ve picked out some of the key stats for you:  

Best-performing balls

  1. Ball No. 40 (325 times)

  2. Ball No. 23 (319 times)

  3. Ball No. 38 (319 times)

  4. Ball No. 11 (317 times)

  5. Ball No. 31 (314 times)

Worst-performing balls

  1. Ball No. 50 (31 times)

  2. Ball No. 57 (33 times)

  3. Ball No. 53 (37 times)

  4. Ball No. 51 (39 times)

  5. Ball No. 56 (43 times)

The National Lottery is a UK gambling institution, one that’s been played by many millions of people. 

While it’s important to know that 55% of the money it makes is paid back to players, it’s hard to look past its commitment to spending 24% of its ticket revenue on good and charitable causes. 

So, next time you buy a lottery ticket, remember you’re also giving money to charity.

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