The information in this guide is provided for assistance only.
If you play Draw-Based Games online (including by Direct Debit), the Rules for Draw-Based Games Played Online and the relevant Game Procedures (and any Game Specific Rules) apply.
If you play Instant Wins online, the Rules for Interactive Instant Win Games, and the relevant Game Procedures (and any Game Specific Rules) apply.
- A) Using the website
- B) Playing online
- C) Your account
- D) Play limits
- E) Syndicate Managers
- F) Unfinished games and interrupted purchases
- G) Prizes
- H) Further information
A) Using the website
The best way to find your way around the website is to use the navigation buttons and menus within the website. The back/forward buttons in your browser may not take you to where you want to go, and any data placed in forms might be lost.
B) Playing online
You need to set up a National Lottery account before you can play National Lottery games online, and you can only play online if you are physically located in the UK or Isle of Man.
To set up a National Lottery account or a Direct Debit, you must satisfy the following criteria.
- You must be a resident of the UK or Isle of Man.
- You must be 16 or over.
- You mustn't already have a National Lottery account.
- If you provide debit card details, these must be those of a UK or Isle of Man debit card linked to a UK or Isle of Man bank or building society account of which you are an authorised user (and the card must not have been reported lost or stolen or be used for another National Lottery account).
You will need to provide certain information so we can verify your identity and eligibility to play. See the Account Terms for more information.
Our licence to operate The National Lottery requires us to make sure that no one under the age of 16 buys tickets or claims prizes. This is why we ask for certain information, which we can then check through an authentication agency. The information is only used for authentication purposes – we don't run credit checks.
If you opt in to receive marketing communications, we will also use your information (and share it with selected business partners) to send you information we think might interest you. You can change your mind and opt out at any time.
In order to register for a National Lottery account, you will need to tell us at least the following:
- Your full name, gender and residential address in the UK or the Isle of Man
- Your date of birth
- Security details, such as your mother's maiden name, which will be used to identify you if you contact us
- Your current email address.
- If you are between 16–19 years old, you will be asked to provide additional information to allow us to authenticate you.
If we are unable to authenticate your identity using the databases available to us, you can register by post using the forms we provide.
You will be asked to choose a username and password when you register. Once you have chosen your username, you won't be able to change it online so you should make sure you are happy with it before completing registration. If you forget your username or password at any time, you can choose the relevant 'Forgot username' or 'Forgot password' link on the Sign In page.
If you want to play Instant Wins for prizes or Draw-Based Games online, you will need to register a valid debit card to your National Lottery account – you can only register one debit card. We will need you to enter the debit card number and expiry date. You can use debit cards linked to joint bank accounts. We don't need your debit card details if you only want to try our Instant Wins, or if you want to set up a Direct Debit for Draw-Based Games.
Finally, remember that you are only allowed to have one National Lottery account.
When can I play?
The National Lottery website is available for browsing 24 hours a day. However, you can't log into your account between 2am and 8am.
You can buy tickets for Draw-Based Games or set up a Direct Debit from 8am until 11pm each day, except on the day of a draw when you need to buy your ticket by 7.30pm. To find out full details of when the games are available to play, visit the information pages for each game.
You can buy Instant Wins at any time except between 2am and 8am, and you may not be able to play all Instant Wins on the website from certain mobile devices.
Can I play from overseas?
No, you must be physically located in the UK or Isle of Man when buying a National Lottery game online or when setting up or amending a Direct Debit (including adding or deleting play slips and changing your payment details).
How do Instant Wins work?
As with all National Lottery games, Instant Wins are games of chance; no skill is required to win. The outcome of each Instant Win is predetermined at the point you buy or try an Instant Win.
The outcome is generated by random number generator software which has been independently checked and audited.
C) Your account
You can currently transfer a minimum of £10 at any one time into your National Lottery account and a maximum of £350 in any 7 day period. Funds transfers do not incur charges.
You won't be entitled to receive interest on any funds in your account – any interest accrued is given to National Lottery Projects.
Debit card details
We will notify you by email if your debit card is due to expire soon so that you can update your debit card details. If you don't update your debit card details, we will try our best to return your National Lottery account balance to your debit card before midnight on the expiry date.
To update your debit card details in your National Lottery account (for example if it is due to expire or if you have lost your debit card), go to 'My account' then select the relevant link in the 'Manage my account' area.
If you have funds in your National Lottery account, you might be asked to contact our Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 to update your debit card details.
You can change your National Lottery account settings, for example to opt in or out of marketing emails and reveal Instant Win outcomes automatically. Changes can be made at any time (except between 2am and 8am) via the 'Manage my account' area in 'My account'.
The option to reveal Instant Win outcomes automatically has been developed for the benefit of the visually impaired who use screen readers, and can also be used where the game animation format is not compatible with the device you are using. It allows you to buy or try a game and go directly to the outcome without seeing the game animation.
D) Play limits
General Limits on Play
You can play up to a maximum of 75 Instant Wins in any 24 hour period (or any lower number you choose – see the section below for details on how to do this). The same limit applies if you are only trying our Instant Wins.
Self-imposed limits on play
You can manage your play by limiting the number of Instant Wins you can buy in any 24 hour period. You can do this by choosing the relevant link in the 'Manage my account’ area of ‘My account’.
If you reduce the number of Instant Wins you can buy, the change will take effect immediately.
If you then choose to increase this number (up to a maximum of 75), it will take 24 hours for the change to come into effect.
It is not possible to reduce the number of Instant Wins you can try in any 24 hour period.
Take a break from Instant Wins
You can also take a break from playing Instant Wins.
You can either take a break from playing ALL Instant Wins (which means you won’t be able to try or buy any Instant Wins), or you can take a break from playing certain Instant Wins, for as long as you like. If you choose the second option, you won’t be able to try or buy that particular Instant Win(s) whilst you are taking a break.
Both options are available in the ‘Manage my account’ area of ‘My account’. Any changes made will take effect as soon as you have saved them.
You can only get access again to ALL Instant Wins, or to the Instant Wins you are taking a break from, by calling our Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 during its normal operating hours. It will take 24 hours for your access to be restored.
You can temporarily exclude yourself from your National Lottery account for a minimum of 6 months. This means you won't be able to access your account or play any National Lottery games while you are excluded. You will need to call the Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 during its normal operating hours to temporarily exclude yourself, and to have the restriction removed.
You can also permanently exclude yourself from your National Lottery account by calling the Customer Care Team. If you choose to do this, you will not be able to play any National Lottery games online again.
Temporary and permanent account exclusions will be effective immediately.
E) Syndicate Managers
Syndicate Managers can choose to increase the maximum amount they can transfer into their National Lottery account in any 7-day period. The maximum limit is £1,000.
Syndicate Managers that have opted for the maximum limit above can buy a maximum of 10 Instant Wins (but still try up to 75 Instant Wins) in any 24 hour period.
F) Unfinished games and interrupted purchases
If you haven’t finished an Instant Win for any reason (including if you lose internet connection or your browser crashes), you will be notified of your unfinished game when you log into your account. You won't be able to play a new Instant Win until the unfinished one is completed.
If you don’t finish playing an Instant Win within 24 hours of buying it, the game will be played out automatically on your behalf. Similarly, if an Instant Win is closed and you have not yet finished the game, it will be played out automatically. Any prizes will be credited in the normal way.
An Instant Win is considered complete once you click or tap on the Finish button, and its outcome status shows either “Finished” where no prize has been won, or the prize amount where a prize has been won. You can view the outcome status by going to ‘My account’ and choosing ‘Instant Wins’ under the ‘My games’ tab.
If you lose your internet connection or your browser crashes whilst you are buying a ticket for a Draw-Based Game, you should sign into your account and review your ‘Transaction history’ in ‘My account’ when your internet connection returns or browser restarts. You can then see if the purchase was completed and whether your ticket has been entered into the draw. If the purchase was completed before you lost connection, you will see your ticket details here. If not, you can try to buy the ticket again.
How do I check if I've won?
With Instant Wins, you will be notified on-screen if you win, and the amount of any prize.
For Draw-Based Games, we will email you after the draw (and you will be notified when you next sign in to your National Lottery account) if you have won a prize.
Details of any win will also be shown in the ‘My games’ and 'Transaction history' areas in 'My account'.
How long do I have to claim my prize?
Unless you follow the procedure set out in the paragraph immediately below, prizes for Draw-Based Games must be claimed before the end of the 180th day after the date of the relevant draw (subject to the timings set out in the "How do I claim my prize" section further on).
A Draw-Based Game prize can be claimed in person within seven days after the end of the 180 day claim period if, before the end of the 180th day, you contact us and notify us that you wish to claim in this way (and give your name, address and all details of your entry that we require) and if you then present proof of identity and any relevant prize claim form in person at a Regional Centre within the 7 day period. You can contact us by phoning the Customer Care Team during its normal operating hours or by emailing email@example.com. We must receive the email before the end of the 180 day claim period.
Prizes for Instant Wins must be claimed before the end of the 180th day after the relevant Instant Win was bought (again, subject to the timings set out below).
If you don’t claim any prize within the relevant prize claim period, your entitlement to that prize will be lost.
How do I claim my prize?
For all online prizes (except Direct Debit prizes):
- Draw-Based Game prizes up to and including £500 will be automatically credited to your National Lottery account.
- For Instant Win prizes of up to and including £500, you will need to confirm that these should be paid to your National Lottery account. If you don’t confirm this within 60 days of completing the Instant Win, the prize will be automatically credited to your National Lottery account.
- For prizes of over £500 up to and including £30,000, you will need to confirm before 11.00pm on the last day of the claim period that these should be paid to the debit card registered to your National Lottery account.
- For prizes of over £30,000, up to and including £50,000, you will need to contact the Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 during its normal operating hours and during the claim period to validate your claim. Prizes will be paid by cheque.
- Prizes of over £50,000 must be claimed in person during the claim period. You must call the Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 to validate your claim and we will arrange to process your claim in person.
- If you win a non-cash prize, instalment/regular payment or annuity prize, how to claim will be set out in the Game Procedures and/or Game Specific Rules for the relevant game.
For Direct Debit prizes:
- Prizes of up to and including £50,000 will normally be credited to the bank or building society account your Direct Debit is taken from.
- If you win a prize of more than £50,000 you will need to speak to the Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 during its normal operating hours and during the claim period to validate your claim and we will arrange to process your prize claim in person.
For all online Prizes (including Direct Debit prizes), you will need to complete and submit a Prize Claim Form if you win over £50,000. In some circumstances, you may need to complete a Prize Claim Form for lower prizes.
When claiming a prize, a screen-print of a winning play, a play slip and a purchase confirmation will not be accepted as any proof of entitlement.
You won't be entitled to any interest on prizes.
H) Further information
Are my winnings tax free?
National Lottery prizes are not chargeable gains for the purposes of UK Capital Gains Tax and will not normally be assessed for UK Income Tax. If a prize is won and shared by a syndicate who entered into a written agreement before the win, then syndicate members should not be liable to pay UK inheritance tax. However, please note that HM Revenue and Customs law and practice may change. The above comments are based on our understanding of HM Revenue and Customs law and practice as of April 2014.
Where does the money raised go?
As operator of The National Lottery, we are committed to maximising returns to National Lottery Projects through selling tickets in a socially responsible way.
As has always been the case, the total amount we deliver to National Lottery Projects depends on a number of variable factors, including the mix of games sold, the channels through which they are sold and the level of unclaimed prizes.
National Lottery Projects that receive funding cover the arts, charity/voluntary organisations, education, environment, health, heritage and sport. Although we are responsible for generating funding for National Lottery Projects, we play no role in the allocation of funding, which is the responsibility of 12 lottery distribution bodies, each with specialist knowledge of their sectors. To find National Lottery Projects in your local area, visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/good-causes.
Please play responsibly...
We are keen that you play The National Lottery responsibly. With this in mind, after consulting with a number of industry experts, we have developed the system in a way that allows you to manage your own play. More information is available in the Play Limits section above.
If you are concerned about playing too much, please call GamCare on 0808 8020 133.
What if I need more information?
If you need more information on any topic, please call our Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000. The current opening hours of the Customer Care Team can be found at www.national-lottery.co.uk/contact-us.
For more on how to play by Direct Debit, you can download our Direct Debit Guide.
Call our Customer Care Team on 0845 278 8000 or alternatively email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaints should be made to email@example.com or 0370 737 3983.
For the hard of hearing using Minicom equipment, please call 0370 737 8 249.
Calls from a BT land line are charged at your calling plan's standard network rate. Mobile and other providers' charges may vary.
The National Lottery is operated by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, whose registered address is at Tolpits Lane, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 9RN.
© Gambling Commission 2014