Did you know?
The UK Lottery has grown, since its beginning on 19 November 1994, into one of the most lucrative lotteries in the world? On an average week the jackpot prize is £9 000 000 ($13 500 000). Don't worry - I shall be using dollars from now on to avoid confusion! On occasions the jackpot is not won by anyone and the whole sum is "rolled over" - in one week in January 1996 this meant that the top prize was $65 000 000 - yes, that's 65 million dollars! Not bad! On February 5, 1997 the lottery authorities started a mid-week draw, so we now have two draws a week! The Saturday draw is still the most popular but the mid-week draw still attracts a jackpot of 2 or 3 million dollars!!!
How does it work?
Simple really. You pick six numbers between 1 and 49. You fill out an entry form and take it to a retailer who has a National Lottery computer link and get a receipt. Then you wait for the money to roll in. Easy. Not quite. The odds against any one ticket winning are estimated by the lottery operators at 13 983 816 to one against. Not very impressive, but, after all, someone has to win and it might be you. There are also many smaller prizes on offer from $15 for matching just three of the numbers up to a possible $100 000 for matching five numbers and the "bonus ball".
Who picks the winning numbers?
A machine. Actually there are three of them, Launcelot, Arthur and Guenivere - quite poetic! What happens, live on the BBC, is that 49 coloured balls are dropped into the machine. It spins them around and then, one at a time, seven of them (remember the "bonus ball"?) are dropped out the bottom.
Who can play?
Anyone - well almost anyone. You have to be 16 years or older. You have to be in the UK to buy a ticket. That's it.
Fine - then why am I reading this?
I knew you were going to ask that. There is a way of dramatically increasing the odds of winning. You simply buy more tickets. This is what we do at the school where I teach. We have a "syndicate". A syndicate is simply a group of people who agree to enter the lottery together and share in any winnings. There are twenty of us and we regularly win (only $15 prizes so far). We have not won as much as we have "invested" but we do win something.
How does a syndicate work?
Simple, we all pick six numbers and one person collects the money and buys the twenty tickets and checks to see if we have won - then we share the money.
Great - so what's the deal?
Just coming to that. With 200 people in a syndicate the odds are greatly reduced. The odds against matching 5 balls and the bonus are about 55 492 to one. You can get $100 000 for this! Not great - but better than a kick in the teeth!
What does it cost?
The tickets are sold at £1 (sorry, I lied - had to include another pound sign here). That's $1.50 a week. But - if you would like to join my syndicate I'm going to charge you two bucks. Whoa! Why two bucks? Simple. I'm going to make a small profit! After all, I've got to do the work at this end - fill out the entry forms, buy the tickets and check for winners - I ought to get something! Also, I'm a "non-paying member" of this syndicate, i.e. I get one share of the winnings and I ain't paying.
What if you collect the winnings and disappear to Rio?
Not likely - but possible. If you think this is a rip off then: either stop reading this now - or send me a dollar (cash) and I will send you the names and addresses of my wife, my ex-wife, my children, my relatives in Kansas City, my dog, my cat, and lots of people who know me and will vouch for me and you can send the "heavies" around and fix them if you think I've ripped you off. This is no joke. I am an American citizen who has lived and worked in the UK for over twenty years. I served for three years in the US Army and I am a teacher. I also like Mom's apple pie and the flag, "Old Glory", that is.
OK - what do I do now?
Send me a cheque for $26 for thirteen weeks, or $50 for twenty-six weeks or $99 for one year (notice the great discount!) and I will get you started. Sorry I can't really deal with sums smaller that $25, I have to convert the money into pounds and that costs as well. However; if you're not really into syndicates and want to "do your own thing", then send me $99 and I will do an individual entry for you - pick your own numbers. I use a computer program to pick the actual numbers for the syndicate and "wheel" them to obtain the best possible chance of winning. Actually I think that my cat has about as much chance of picking the winning numbers as the computer - but I can't train the cat properly at present and it sounds much more professional to use a computer!
How will I know if we have won?
Don't worry, if we win the jackpot you'll find out! I will be registering your details on my database and you will be contacted! Also you will get a statement every six months outlining the winnings so far. You can email me - or call me if you feel you can spare the money. (n.b. the code from the USA to the UK is 011 44 1603 783849.)
OK, so I'm summing up. This is not a get rich quick scheme. It is unlikely that you are going to get rich. It's also unlikely that I'm going to get rich either. But there is a chance! Certainly it is true to say that if you are not in - then you can't win!
What about Income Tax?
Sorry - no tax. The UK Lottery is completely free of income tax and is paid in a lump sum to whoever holds the winning ticket.
Is this legal?
Yes. If we win and I send you a large sum of money it's up to you to deal with the IRS. No probs.