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I have never been a big player of the online National Lottery, come to think of it I have never been a big player of the National Lottery full-stop, until recently. I am a member of quite a few what are called, Cash-Back sites as some of you may have heard of. While recently visiting one of my regular sites I saw that I would get cash-back for signing up and playing the National Lottery online. Quite a few of my family members are regular players of the Lottery and have told me that for the sake of a quid or two a week I should get involved. So I did … and won £10 for matching 3 numbers! Yey for me!
Anyone can access the site by simply clicking on www.national-lottery.co.uk, although players must be 16 and over. The website is very well set out, in my opinion, and easy to navigate around. It uses the traditional Lottery colours of Red, White and Blue and has the logo in the left hand corner. At the top, there are 7 different tabs you can click on depending on what you are looking for.
Home: This takes you to the Lottery homepage where there are lots of different things going on. You can purchase tickets for the Lotto by easily inserting the numbers you wish to choose and entering which draw you would like it to be entered into, i.e either Wednesday or Saturday or both! It also announces the results from the most recent draws for the Euro Millions and Lotto, which I like as it doesn't mean having to spend ages searching through the site for them if that is all you would like to check. There is quick access to Instant win games such as Monopoly and Noughts and Crosses which I will explain in a further on tab, and also quick links to various other parts of the site.
Buy Draw Tickets: This is the tab you would use if you were wanting to purchase your draw tickets. Once you have clicked on the tab a menu of different games available for you to play is shown. There are the obvious one such as Lotto (£1 per line), Euro Millions (£1.50 per line) and Thunderball (Win up to £250,000). There are also 3 other available options, which you may not be so familiar with. Dream Number is a new game where you can win up to £500,000. It can be played alongside Lotto or by itself. You are given a 7-digit Dream Number shown on the Lotto play slip that you can play or you can pick Lucky Dip for a new random number. To win you must match the digits drawn in the same order as your Dream Number, reading from left to right, and starting with the first digit. Daily Play is basically a miniature version of Lotto, drawn everyday, where you pick 7 numbers between 1-27 and have the chance at winning up to £30,000. Lotto Hot picks is again similar to Lotto. Basically the difference is that you decide how many numbers you want to pick and choose the appropriate 'Pick' game. For example, if you play 'Pick 3', you need to pick 3 numbers and match all 3 to win.
Instant Win Games: Under this tab you will find various games that you can play and win cash instantly (if you are so lucky). These games include things like Monopoly and Scrabble. In order to win money for playing these games you do have to pay to play and the price ranges from £1-£1.50-£2. However one thing I like about this part of the site is that if you don't feel ready to begin gambling real money you can click on a sub-tab and play "just for laughs" in other words you don't have to pay as you are playing just for fun.
Now I believe that this is the most important part of the website and anybody can access this whether you are signed up or not. It shows all of the results from the 6 main games I described above. From here, you can also access previous draw results and unclaimed prize details. A very handy little feature on this part of the site that I think is a very good idea especially in helping to pick your numbers is the frequency checker. The frequency checker allows you to see which numbers has been drawn the most and those which have been drawn the least over the period of the last 90 days, 365 days and those to date.
News and Info: This part of the site basically tells you about any new features/games on the site and is where you can also access the rules for the Lotto.
Winners and Good Causes: Here, you can hear the opinions and thoughts from people who have won in the Winners Gallery and what they have done/plan to do with their money. There is also a section about good causes that the National Lottery have been involved with which is very heartwarming. You will see that over 238,000 grants have been awarded from The National Lottery, ranging from Olympic athletes and charities, through to schools and underprivileged groups and you can find out any details about grants that have been awarded in your area.
My Account: The last tab is basically for anyone who has signed up for an account with the website. Here you can see which tickets you have that remain to be put into upcoming draws and which numbers you have chosen as well as seeing which tickets have finished and whether you have won anything from them.
How do you sign up ?
Simply by going to the website www.national-lottery.co.uk and clicking open account which is at the top right hand corner. Like with most websites it requires the usual personal details. Name, address and email address. Your email address is very important, as you will be asked to validate the account through an email to prevent fraud. Although it can be a pain sometimes, I quite like this method because at least I know my details are well protected. Also make sure you read through the terms and conditions so you are aware of them at all times. It is important to do this when registering with any site. Then you are ready to begin!
How do I buy a ticket online?
Before you can play online you have to transfer some money from your bank account to your lottery account. I was a bit wary of this at first but I can assure you its very safe and secure and each time you do this you are prompted for security details such as your password. You can enter your bank details by logging into your account and clicking on the "My Account" tab. You will see a link to add funds press this and follow the instructions. The minimum you can transfer across at any time is £5 which annoyed me at first as I only wanted to play one line for £1 to try the site out but it is understandable I suppose as with most debit transactions £5 is the minimum. When you have transferred funds into your Lottery account you are ready to play. You can buy tickets for Lotto by either clicking the "Buy Draw Tickets" or, as I find easier to do, by using the virtual ticket that you will see on the left hand side of the homepage. You simply enter the numbers you wish to play with and choose as many lines as you would like and at the bottom you can choose which draw you're wanting to play in. There is also an option on this virtual ticket to play the dream number option so you either click yes to play it or no to leave it.
A feature of the website that I like is that you are emailed every time you purchase a ticket for Lotto or Euromillions so that you know what you have purchased. You can also check this via the website but I think it's always nice to have a second copy for your records. However, you are not emailed if you play instant win games.
How do I know if I have won?
This is the best part of the whole playing online for me being fairly lazy especially at the moment with my baby due on Friday! (hehe so excited) Ok…getting back on track … The website actually checks your numbers for you and if your lucky enough to win like I was on my first try, they email you to let you know and also leave a message on your lottery account. It tells you which numbers were matched and how much you have won. I find this saves a lot of hassle as you don't have to keep going to and from to the shop to check your numbers or to collect your winnings. Depending on how much you win depends on how it will be paid to you as certain security measures have to been taken (and again with security which is very comforting!).
How will I be Paid my Winnings?
Anything you win upto £500 will be put straight into your online Lottery account. You then have a number of options as to what you can do with it. You can either leave it there to play with in the future or play with it straight away if you want to! Or you can transfer it to your bank account. Note that if you choose to transfer it to your bank it will take a few days to actually show up so will not be available straight away.
Anything you win between £500 and £5000 will not be put into your Lottery account it will be put into your bank account but again will probably take a few days. I think this is great, as at least you know people can't steal your winnings by hacking into your account.
Anything that you win over £5000 (wouldn't that be nice!) has to be claimed over the phone so that they can confirm that you are who you say you are and to ensure they don't give it to the wrong person. I suppose you will then be able to have it put into your bank account.
If there is anything you don't understand about the website or how to play in general there is a help button in the top right hand corner. There are 10 FAQ's that should be able to answer anything you're unclear about however, if not completely satisfied with the answers there is another little feature called "ask Evie". If you click the ask evie button then it brings up another window. You should enter your question as a sentence and click ask and it brings up information based on the keywords of your question. It's quite a clever little feature, however it requires you to be very specific in the way you word the question before she knows how to answer.
Would I recommend this site?
Most definitely! It is especially useful for those of us who find it difficult to make it to the shops every week for the sake of a lottery ticket and is very convenient for those of us who are always on the computer. I think this is a very secure and reliable site and trust all of my details. As I have said it takes so many security measures because it is dealing in money that I feel totally comfortable using it. As I mentioned at the beginning I won £10 off one line the first time I tried the lotto, be it beginners luck, I will be playing regularly from now on. For the sake of a pound or two I'd say its worth it. However like everything involved in gambling, you tend to lose most of the time especially on the instant win games. Do play sensibly as they can become very addictive especially as it so easy to transfer more and more money across. It is possible to spend more than you realise. With that word of warning, sit back and enjoy and Good Luck. From me a very big thumbs up to www.national-lottery.co.uk and 100% satisfaction - as long as I win hehe
It definately sounds better than remembering to go to the shop and queue up etc etc. Might try it - Ang.
tia_bailey 08.08.2006 15:59
Great review. I've only ever played the lottery once, and won £24. I'd still rather save the £1 or £2 a week instead of wasting it on the lottery! Tia. xxx
snake_plissken 08.08.2006 01:43
I tried signing up to these a while ago..... but the computer said NO, mind you there was an awful lot of traffic on the site...something to do with £150 million jackpot if I remember...lol... Great review ;-)