Players' Guide - Version 22

Buying Tickets and Scratchcards

Can I buy a National Lottery ticket?

As long as you are 16 years old or over and are eligible to play under the relevant Games Rules, you can buy National Lottery tickets.

Where can I buy National Lottery tickets?

You can buy National Lottery tickets from Retailers throughout the UK and Isle of Man. Each Retailer is clearly identified by National Lottery logos and signs – some Retailers only sell Scratchcards. You can also buy a wide range of National Lottery games on The National Lottery website at, and from your mobile device.

Buying a Draw-based game Ticket

You can buy Tickets at Retailers that sell them by:

  • Filling in a play slip and using it to buy a Ticket (except at Retailers with Till-point Terminals).
  • Using a National Lottery Fast Pay card to buy a Ticket.
  • Asking your Retailer for a Ticket with your chosen numbers without filling in a play slip. You won't be able to buy a Ticket in this way from selected Retailers with Till-point Terminals.

If you ask for a Lucky Dip, The National Lottery computer system will pick your numbers for you.

Don't forget to sign your Ticket and put your name and address on the back.

When can I buy a Draw-Based Game Ticket?

You must buy your Draw-Based Game Ticket before 7.30pm on the day of the relevant Draw in order to play. Subject to this, and to the Retailers' normal opening hours, Tickets for Lotto and Lotto HotPicks are on sale from 6.00am to 11.00pm daily, though not between 7.30pm and 9.00pm on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Thunderball Tickets are on sale from 6.00am to 11.00pm daily, though not between 7.30pm and 9.00pm on Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays. EuroMillions Tickets are on sale from 6.00am to 11.00pm daily, though not between 7.30pm and 9.00pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

How do I check that my Ticket is valid?

When you get your Draw-Based Game Ticket, you are responsible for checking that the game, numbers and Draw date on your Ticket match your choices. You should also check that the bar coded serial number can be clearly read and that any 'VOID' box has not been marked.

Scratchcard Top Prizes

Scratchcards that offer a cash top Prize or a regular payment prize (where payment of the prize is spread over no more than 12 months) of less than £121,000 can remain on sale after the last top Prize has been claimed.

Scratchcards that offer both non-cash top Prizes and cash top Prizes (with the non-cash top Prize and cash top Prize having a combined value of less than £121,000) can remain on sale whilst there is at least one unclaimed cash or non-cash top Prize. Once all cash top Prizes and non-cash top Prizes have been validated, Retailers will be allowed to continue selling those Scratchcards that have already been activated for sale and any unactivated Scratchcard stock will be withdrawn.

For Scratchcards that offer non-cash top Prizes and cash top Prizes of £121,000 or more, and Scratchcards that offer annuity prizes, once the last top Prize has been validated Retailers will only be allowed to continue selling those Scratchcards that have already been activated for sale – any unactivated Scratchcard stock will be withdrawn.

For more information, please see the Code of Practice on Top Prize Management, available at

How do I check if I have won?

You are responsible for safeguarding your Ticket or Scratchcard, and ensuring you are paid the full value of the Prize you are entitled to.

It is always best to check whether or not your Ticket or Scratchcard has won before handing it to your Retailer.

For Draw-based games, either watch the Draw if it’s televised or ask your Retailer to give you a printout of the winning numbers. Alternatively, you can get the results on, the National Lottery Official App for iPhone and Android, or by calling The National Lottery Line on 0845 9 100 000. You can also find the results for selected Draw-based games in some national newspapers, and on the BBC Red Button, and use the win checker on to check your Lotto raffle results.

For Scratchcards, follow the instructions on the Scratchcard and rub off the coating on the designated play area(s) to reveal the symbols which, based on the play instructions for each game, will indicate whether or not you have won a Prize. More information is set out in the Game Procedures (and any applicable Game Specific Rules) for each Scratchcard game. These can be viewed at Retailers and on the National Lottery website at For up-to-date information on the number of top Prizes remaining in any Scratchcard game, call The National Lottery Line or visit

If your Ticket or Scratchcard is a winner, sign the back.

At Retailers that only sell Scratchcards, you can also check whether you have won by using the player enquiry function on the player-facing screen. If your Scratchcard is identified as a winner, the message may be visible to others around you so you should take care to ensure your privacy.

All Tickets and Scratchcards need to be validated before a Prize can be paid.

If you ask your Retailer to check your Ticket or Scratchcard and you have won (or if you go to your Retailer to claim your Prize):

  • Listen for the win sound – the terminal will make a discreet sound to indicate that it’s a winning ticket. If your Retailer has a Till-point Terminal, a win sound will not be made.
  • Wait for your Win Receipt – the Retailer is required to hand you a Win Receipt which prints automatically. Ask them for it if they do not hand it to you. This receipt will confirm how much you have won or where to go to collect your Prize. Win Receipts are not printed for non-winning Tickets but the Retailer must return your non-winning Ticket to you. Win Receipts are also not printed for Scratchcards but you can ask your Retailer for a reprint of the validation slip (except if you are at a Retailer that only sells Scratchcards).

Players’ Guide version 22. Last updated: 30th December 2014.

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