Tonight's EuroMillions lottery could be the best ever

EuroMillionsPlaying the lottery is normally a very dumb idea. The chances of winning are extremely small, and typically only half of total ticket sales are paid back to players in prizes. This applies to most EuroMillions and Lotto draws.

However, there are some special EuroMillions draws where buying a ticket becomes a more attractive bet.
In a normal EuroMillions draw, there is a main jackpot fund for any player who correctly matches all five numbers on the main board plus two numbers on the side board. This jackpot is available to all EuroMillions players across Europe.

On top of that, players in the UK are also entered into a separate 'raffle' which usually has a single £1 million prize. This extra raffle was created to deal with the problem that UK ticket buyers – who pay £2 for their tickets – were paying more than continental players who pay only €2 (around £1.73).
Tonight's massive payout

But in tonight's raffle, there will be 100 winners who will all receive £1 million prizes. All these extra prizes mean that the prize payout will inevitably be much higher than the normal 50% of ticket sales.
So what will the 'payout ratio' be?

Well, unfortunately Camelot refuses to give an estimate as to what ticket sales might be, and the lottery operator is also refusing to reveal the number of tickets sold for last year's Olympic raffle which also offered 100 million-pound prizes.

However, a blog called UK lottery news has estimated that 15 million tickets were sold in the UK for the Christmas 2010 EuroMillions draw. So let's assume that we'll see the same level of sales for tonight's draw.

If 15 million tickets are sold in the UK, total UK ticket revenue will be £30 million. As the payout ratio is normally around 50% of the amount of tickets sold, the estimated prize fund for the main part of the draw – where you have to pick five numbers plus two more – will be around £15 million. (That figure's just an estimate. It won't apply if there is a rollover.)

Then there will be 100 million-pound prizes, so the total prize fund could be around £115 million. So punters will pay £30 million for tickets and be eligible for prizes worth £115 million! The 'payout ratio' will be 383%!

Of course, it's possible that UK ticket sales will be higher than 15 million, so let's look at what happens if ticket sales are higher.

Tickets sold

Ticket cost

Odds of winning £1 million

Possible UK prize fund

Payout ratio



150,000 to one





200,000 to one





250,000 to one





300,000 to one



You can see that the higher the ticket sales, the lower the payout ratio. That's because the number of £1 million raffle prizes is fixed at 100 regardless of ticket sales.

Nevertheless, even if 30 million tickets are sold, the payout ratio is still 216%! So, as a whole, UK players will be receive far more in prize money than they paid for tickets.

Best ever?
As I said earlier, tonight's lottery is similar to last year's Olympics raffle where 100 million-pound prizes were on offer. That lottery was unquestionably the best there's ever been. Given that the same number of prizes are on offer tonight, you could argue that this latest lottery is the joint best-ever with the Olympic one.

However, Camelot say that only 97 of the hundred prizes were claimed last year. This year the lottery operator is going to work hard to ensure all hundred prizes are claimed. If that happens, I think we can say that tonight's lottery will prove to be the best ever.

Don't get carried away
Of course, we shouldn't get carried away about this. Yes, the payout ratio for tonight's draw is extremely generous, but the actual chance of winning a big prize is still extremely low. I've had a small flutter and bought three tickets for tonight, but it would crazy to buy much more than that.
If you play tonight, good luck!

The richest self-made Brits
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Tonight's EuroMillions lottery could be the best ever

The Monaco-based billionaire is said to be worth more than £4.2bn, with Topshop and Topman among the country's most successful brands. His first job, aged 12, was working for a shoe importer. He set up his first business at 15 with a £20,000 loan, on-selling imported jeans from the Far East to London-based retailers.

Branson's first successful business venture came in 1976 when he set up Student magazine aged just 16. In 1970, he founded a mail-order record retailer and within a year had opened his first shop on London's Oxford Street – Virgin Records. His fortune is estimated at £3.085 billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

The inventor gave his name to the household vacuum cleaner that would make him a fortune of £1.45 billion. James Dyson first reinvented the vacuum cleaner with the launch of his dual cyclone bagless 'G-Force' cleaner in 1983, followed more recently by the hand dryer and the fan. In 1997, Dyson was awarded the Prince Phillip Designers Prize, and elected a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.

Founder of Specsavers, Bristol-born Dame Mary Perkins is Britain's first female self-made billionaire, reportedly worth £1.15 billion. The 67-year-old and her husband Douglas, 68, founded the eye-care company in 1984 and they can now boast more than 900 stores across Britain. Perkins was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 as recognition for her work.

Recently retired Beckham is the highest earner in British sport, according to the Sunday Times Sport Rich List. 'Brand Beckham' that has seen the 38-year-old amass a fortune of £165 million from endorsement deals and salary payments from his company, Footwork Productions, over the last decade. But Beckham is still some way off the richest sportsman in the world - golfer Tiger Woods, who is worth a staggering £570m.

Yorkshire Tory peer Lord Kirkham entered the billionaire league in 2010 when he sold his furniture company, DFS, for a reported £500m. In 41 years, Kirkham grew the brand, which started on the outskirts of Doncaster, to 79 stores, three factories and more than 2,600 staff. He received a Knighthood in 1995, a Peerage in 1999 and a CVO in 2005. He now owns a large share in Iceland supermarkets and is worth a reported £1.1billion.

The former Beatle takes the top spot in the Sunday Times Rich List of musical millionaires, sharing a £680 million fortune with his wife Nancy Shevell. McCartney has topped the list of wealthy musicians every year since it was formed 1989 when his fortune was estimated at £80 million.

The chairman of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk, Essex-born Dunstone, 46, started his retail empire selling mobile phones from his west London flat in 1989. His fortune rose by £396 million to £1 billion in a year, after the demerger of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk. Carphone Warehouse is Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer and Dunstone was awarded a Knighthood in 2012 for services to the mobile communications industry.

Author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, has a net worth of £560 million – making her the world's richest author. Rowling wrote the first Potter books on a manual typewriter while a single mother living on benefits. The manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 publishers and when finally accepted, Rowling received an advance of just £1,500. Harry Potter is the highest-grossing film series of all-time and the brand has been estimated to be worth as much as £10 billion.

East-ender Lord Sugar, best known for his no-nonsense judging on BBC1s The Apprentice, started his career at 16, selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with savings of £50. In 1968 at the age of 21, Sugar started home electronics company, Amstrad (short for Alan Michael Sugar Trading). By the age of 40 he was worth about £600m. Sir Alan sold Amstrad in 2007, and is now worth a reported £770m, with much of his wealth coming from his extensive property empire.


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