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General: All You Need to Know - The Lotteries

There are a whole host of lotteries available to play and here we take a look at the main ones on offer in the UK and Ireland.

Five different games are in focus - Lotto, Thunderball, Euromillions, Irish Lotto and 49s.

How to play Lotto

Lotto was introduced in 1994 (initially known as the National Lottery) and is now open to anyone in the UK over the age of 18, with tickets purchased on-line or in-store.

Lotto is conducted twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday, and customers pick six different numbers from 1-59, or opt for a "Lucky Dip" in which the numbers are randomly generated, with one line of numbers costing £2.

In the draw, six numbers will be drawn, without replacement, while a further "Bonus Ball" is drawn making seven in total.

There are six prize tiers in total with customers paid out if they match two, three, four or five of the main draw numbers, while those who match five main numbers and the Bonus Ball win a bigger prize.

Of course, matching all six of the main draw numbers earns the winner the biggest prize, known as the "Jackpot", which can vary from draw to draw. The Jackpot will be shared equally by all those that have matched all six main draw numbers.

If the jackpot has not been won in any particular draw, it will rollover to the next one, although the maximum number of rollovers allowed is five and the fifth and final jackpot in that run "must be won".

If the Jackpot is not won in a "must be won" draw, the jackpot will be used to boost all of the other prize tiers.

How to play Thunderball

Thunderball is a National Lottery game that is conducted four times a week, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Customers pick five different main numbers from 1-39, as well as one Thunderball from 1-14, or opt for a "Lucky Dip" with each entry costing £1.

There is a total of nine prize tiers available with customers winning a prize even if they do not pick any of the main numbers, providing they have at least picked a Thunderball number.

Prizes will vary depending on how many numbers they have successfully chosen while the maximum payout of £500,000 is awarded to each customer who has successfully chosen all  five main numbers plus the Thunderball.

How to play Euromillions

EuroMillions is European-based lottery conducted two days a week, on Tuesday and Friday, but with more people eligible to enter, the Jackpot can be bigger than Lotto, up to €250 million.

Customers select five main numbers from 1-50, as well as two numbers from 1-12, known as "Lucky Stars", or opt for a "Lucky Dip" with each entry costing £2.50.

There are more prize tiers in EuroMillions with 13 different combinations in total, with the lowest prize tier requiring at least two main draw numbers, while the Jackpot requires all five main numbers as well as both "Lucky Stars".

If the Jackpot is not won in one draw, then it will rollover to the next draw. However, this can only happen four times and if there is no winner after the maximum number of rollovers, then the entire jackpot will be shared among the winners in the next tier down where there was a winning ticket.

There are also at least two UK Millionaire Maker Prizes on offer in each EuroMillions draw, which guarantees a £1million prize to a customer who purchased a ticket in the UK.

How to play Irish Lotto

Lotto in Ireland runs in similar fashion to Lotto in the UK in the sense that there are two draws each week, on Wednesday and Saturday.

Customers select six main numbers from 1-47 or opt for a "Quick Pick", whereby six numbers are generated randomly with each line costing €2, with a minimum of two lines needing to be purchased.

There is an option, costing another €1 for each line, to join the "Plus" lotteries, which provides an automatic entry into the Lotto Plus 1, Lotto Plus 2 and Plus Raffle Draws, offering three extra chances to win.

In order to win prizes in Irish Lotto, at least two of the main numbers and the Bonus Ball need to be selected with prizes increasing with more of the number matched. Correctly selecting all six of the main numbers will win the Jackpot, which starts at €2million.

How to play 49s

Unlike the other lotteries mentioned here, the 49s lottery is run twice a day, with a lunchtime draw and a teatime draw each day of the week.

Six numbers from 1-49 are drawn, along with a seventh number which is known as the "Booster".

Customers have to decide whether to play in either the six-ball or seven-ball draw with the latter including the Booster, before selecting five numbers.

Individual stakes are then determined by the customer with fixed odds being offered (varies with each bookmaker) on how many of those five balls will in fact be drawn.

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