Britain’s biggest-ever lottery prize is up for grabs in tonight’s EuroMillions draw, a whopping £184 million jackpot.
The prize money has been rolled over from Tuesday’s draw when, once again, no ticketholder picked the right numbers.
If someone does tonight, they will leapfrog the previous largest EuroMillions jackpot won to date — the £180 million prize claimed by a Swiss ticket holder on February 26, 2021 — as well as pushing the current British record holder, an anonymous £170 million winner from October 2019, into second place in the prize-money stakes.
Competition is stiff, however: alongside the UK, eight other European countries take part, including France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, and each week 80 to 100 million people purchase a ticket.
Britain’s biggest-ever lottery prize, a whopping £184 million jackpot, is up fro grabs in tonight’s Euromillions draw
HOW TO PLAY
Players choose five balls from a pool of 50 main numbers and two ‘Lucky Stars’ from a separate pool of 12 numbers.
To win the minimum guaranteed jackpot of £14.4 million (€17 million) a player must match all five main numbers, and two Lucky Stars.
Below that coveted top prize are 13 different prize tiers, meaning you can still get a cash prize if you match fewer numbers, although the figures drop steeply from tier to tier.
On Tuesday, when no one scooped the jackpot, four UK players matched five numbers and one Lucky Star and won £995,741 apiece.
Nine matched five numbers and won £11,128, 27 matched four numbers and two Lucky Stars and won £1,111, and 520 matched four numbers and one Lucky Star and won £102.
There was also one UK Millionaire Maker prize of — you guessed it — £1 million.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 831,860 players won £2.90 each.
Draws are held every Tuesday and Friday night at 8.45pm Central European Time — that’s 7.45pm our time.
The EuroMillions winner could fly to in a £46 million Gulfstream G550 private jet with the jackpot
The EuroMillions team says the odds of picking the required seven numbers correctly is one in 139,838,160, while the odds of picking five main numbers and just one Lucky Star are one in 6,991,908,
Overall, the odds of winning any prize in the EuroMillions are one in 13.
By way of comparison, your odds of being struck by lightning twice in your lifetime are 1 in 9 million, so around 15 times more likely than winning that coveted jackpot.
You’re also more likely to die in a plane crash — the odds for which, according to one U.S. study, are one in 29.4 million — or be killed by a shark, a one in near four million chance.
PREVIOUS BIG JACKPOTS
The jackpot could get you a stay in what is believed to be the world’s most expensive hotel room, the Empathy Suite Sky Villa in Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort
There have been hundreds of EuroMillions jackpot winners crowned since the first draw in February 2004, with lucky players landing prizes worth between £8 million and £180 million.
The biggest jackpot win so far this year in the UK was in April, when nine rollovers took the jackpot from its starting value of £14 million to over £122 million before it was won by one anonymous ticket holder.
That’s still nearly £50 million shy of the biggest British win to date — that £170 million win in October 2019 by another anonymous player.
UK players have won 114 jackpots over the years, more than any other country.
France and Spain are second equal in the jackpot league table with 112 wins apiece, followed by Portugal (79), Belgium (39), Switzerland (23), Ireland (18), Austria (17) and Luxembourg (3).
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DO WIN?
If you buy your ticket through a shop it is down to you to claim the prize, whether you have won £100 or £100 million, as National Lottery HQ has no way of knowing who you are.
You have 180 days from the day of the draw to make yourself known. If you don’t, you forfeit your win.
If you play online or through the app, the National Lottery Customer Care Team will send you an email to let you know you’ve won something.
Ways to make your lucky numbers count for more
Make sure your numbers add up to between 90 and 160: numbers within this interval account for more than 70 per cent of the successful five-number sets of EuroMillions.
Bunch your numbers close together, too — say 15, 16, 17 and so on. While the space between numbers makes no difference to the likelihood they will get chosen, most people tend to space them out evenly across the range available — meaning if you bunch yours and you do win you are more likely to have your jackpot to yourself.
The most common EuroMillions numbers drawn as main numbers are 23, 19, 44, 50 and 5, while the most common Lucky Star numbers are 2 and 8.
What about buying lots of tickets? While in theory that should boost your chances of winning, it only really works in smaller set-ups such as a local raffle, where there is a set number of tickets and buying more of them ups your chances.
When it comes to lotteries, the maths gets more complicated. That’s because there aren’t a set number of tickets sold, but rather a series of numbers that are drawn, which means that — in theory — any number of people could pick the same series of numbers that you have, and so would split the prize with you.
In reality, the vast majority of EuroMillions jackpots are won by a single ticket holder — although in August this year the £54 million prize was split three ways between players in the UK, Belgium and France.
Nonetheless, factor in the dizzyingly long odds against picking the full set of correct numbers, and it makes calculating the effect of costs sunk on the chances of winning a fiendishly complex exercise.
You get the same bland message whether you’ve won the jackpot or £2.50. The email subject line is ‘News about your ticket’, and the message in the body of the email is headed ‘GOOD NEWS’ in block capitals.
It then reads: ‘You’ve won a prize on the National Lottery’. Then: ‘You’ve won a prize playing one of our draw games on [DATE]. Sign into your account to find out more’.
As 60 per cent of the population play EuroMillions, it can take several hours to gain access to the system at peak times and jackpot winners have no better chance of logging in than anyone else.
But it’s certainly worth checking your emails if you play online.
In November 2016, Jacqui Shannon from Witham in Essex went three weeks without realising she had won one of two Millionaire Maker prizes in the EuroMillions after ignoring a succession of emails from the National Lottery informing her of her windfall.
While small sums up to £100 can be claimed from any lottery retailer, and up to £50,000 can be claimed from designated Post Offices with a lottery terminal, anything over £50,000 — known as a ‘high tier’ win — means making a claim directly to Lottery HQ.
Your first port of call should be the helpline, where one of the 40 men and women at the call centre will take your details.
The claims team will ask questions about you and the ticket, before confirming on the phone if the details you have provided are right and you’re in line for a pay-out.
Those details are then passed on to one of several ‘winners’ counsellors’ who will take the lucky contestant through the paperwork: checking the ticket and making sure they have the correct ID.
Winners are advised to sign the back of the ticket and stay calm.
The next step is to meet National Lottery advisers in person, an encounter that lasts around two hours and can be at the winner’s home or at one of the lottery’s regional centres.
For the win to be validated you must complete a prize claim form and also present proof of identity and age.
Then you must hand over the winning ticket, which will be scrutinised to check that it has not been cancelled, forged or stolen.
‘I’ve seen people be sick with excitement, I’ve seen people resign their job on the spot, I’ve seen people jumping up and down, I’ve known husbands who haven’t told wives and wives who haven’t told husbands, I’ve been to homes where there’s literally a party going on already,’ says senior winners’ adviser Andy Carter at the National Lottery.
The team also ensures that winners get access to expert advice from a lawyer and a financial adviser, as well as suggesting they open a private bank account into which the money can be paid, both for privacy purposes and because of the level of service such institutions can provide.
Those looking for something a little more exclusive would have more than enough to cover the £117 million cost of buying Rangyai Island
Once you have opened your account, the money gets paid by BACS transfer, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
Jackpot winners are also advised on the pros and cons of going public or remaining anonymous — with only around 5 per cent of winners opting for the former.
If they do decide to go public, they should expect some begging letters. Two years ago, bus driver Peter Lavery, who made headlines when he won £10.2 million in 1996, revealed he had received more than 9,000 in all.
He had one piece of advice for those in the same position. ‘Burn them all,’ he said.
The lucky jackpot winners are also put in touch with other winners. ‘If you’ve won a large amount of money on the National Lottery, the best thing you can do is go and have a cup of tea with another winner,’ says Andy Carter.
‘Because they’re the people that will truly understand.’
WHAT IF NO ONE WINS?
The EuroMillions jackpot is capped at tonight’s £184 million, and cannot roll over again.
If no one claims tonight’s prize, the jackpot will stay at the same level for a further three draws. It must be won on the fifth draw on Tuesday, October 26.
If no one gets the jackpot by then, it will be shared among the winners who are just one number short — meaning potentially many new multi-millionaires.
And if the past is any guide, their big-spending priorities will be homes, cars and holidays.
…and how to blow it all!
The winner will have missed out on the chance to buy the world’s most expensive diamond which sold in Hong Kong this year for £21.2 million
If tonight’s jackpot was laid out end-to-end in £50 notes it would be 357 miles long, stretching from John O’Groats all the way down to Leeds.
It could buy a house in each of the top ten most expensive streets in the UK, including in London’s Kensington Palace Gardens, where the average house price is nearly £30 million.
Those looking for something a little more exclusive would have more than enough to cover the £117 million cost of buying Rangyai Island, the most expensive private island on the market.
Located off the coast of Phuket in Thailand, the 110-acre paradise has fresh water, an electricity generator and mobile phone reception.
It’s a mere 20-minute helicopter hop from Phuket International Airport, which the EuroMillions winner could fly to in a £46 million Gulfstream G550 private jet, which can transport up to 19 people, non-stop for more than 12 hours.
If you prefer a fancy hotel, you could afford a lengthy stay in what is believed to be the world’s most expensive hotel room, the Empathy Suite Sky Villa in Las Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort.
Designed by the artist Damien Hirst, the suite includes two master bedrooms, massage tables, a salt relaxation room — lined with mineral-rich Himalayan salt — and a cantilevered Jacuzzi which looks over the famous Vegas strip. Cost? A mere $100,000 a night, or £72,900.
If you can stretch to that, you can also easily pay for a bottle of one of the year’s most expensive champagnes to drink in your suite, an 1820 Juglar Cuvee retailing at £31,711 — or buy many thousands of Krug Brut Vintage 1988 at £914 a bottle.
Sadly, the winner will have missed out on the chance to buy the world’s most expensive diamond, a purple-pink stone set in a platinum ring which sold in Hong Kong this year for £21.2 million.
For a little added perspective, the winner could buy 230 million copies of the Daily Mail.