Where to start when choosing a lottery to play? I decided to go and take a look at EuroMillions today and see how they compare to some of the other big lotteries offered internationally. This is one mega lottery played twice a week that grows and grows – and it’s in Euros! It looks good with better odds than some others, but then again, it is all in the details. Let’s talk.
How Does EuroMillions Work?
EuroMillions is a lottery involving two separate drums. Players chose 5 numbers from 1 to 50 and then chose what they call ‘Lucky Stars’ from 1 to 12. To win the big jackpot, all five numbers plus the two Lucky Stars have to be matched. It sounds like a long shot, but there have been enough big jackpot winners to prove it can happen. Every Tuesday and Friday, EuroMillions is drawn in Paris at 9:45 pm local time.
EuroMillions is a pan-European lottery and probably the biggest things to happen on the Old Continent. Currently, it’s being played in 11 countries. Originally, EuroMillions was launched by lottery operators in Spain, Britain and France. Later on, other European countries decided to join in the fun. Today, EuroMillions is one of the most spectacular lotteries out there and it attracts players from all parts of the world.
EuroMillions and Winning
There are 13 tiers of prizes at EuroMillions. It’s an accumulative jackpot so as long it is not won, it keeps growing; well, to a point. A few years back they decided to cap it at €190 million. This amount rolls over for two jackpots and then if it hasn’t been won there are two things that can happen. EuroMillions will either add it to the next lowest tier where there is at least one winner or in a super draw where it’s placed in the next lower category where there is at least one winner. This means winning a big jackpot without getting all the numbers and stars.
As you can see in the table below, the odds of hitting the jackpot aren’t that impressive. Your chance of having all of the required numbers correct is 1 in 139,838,160. The amazing EuroMillions jackpots justify the attempt and we’ll get to those in a minute.
|EuroMillions Numbers Matched||Lucky Stars Matched||Odds of Winning|
|5 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||1 in 139,838,160|
|5 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Star||1 in 6,991,908|
|5 numbers||-||1 in 3,107,515|
|4 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||1 in 621,503|
|4 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Star||1 in 31,076|
|3 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||1 in 14,126|
|4 numbers||-||1 in 13,812|
|2 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||1 in 986|
|3 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Star||1 in 707|
|3 numbers||-||1 in 314|
|1 number||+ 2 Lucky Stars||1 in 188|
|2 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Stars||1 in 50|
|2 numbers||-||1 in 22|
Getting 5 numbers and 1 lucky star correct come with odds of 1 in 6,991,908. Needless to say, as we go down the lower prize tiers, the odds of getting the respective numerical combination correct increase.
The overall odds of winning any of the EuroMillions prizes are 1 in 13, which is quite impressive in comparison to what some other international lotteries have to offer.
|EuroMillions Numbers Matched||Lucky Stars Matched||Estimated Win (£)||Estimated Win (€)|
|5 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||Jackpot||Jackpot|
|5 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Star||£227,848.80||€303,798|
|4 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||£2,307.30||€3,076|
|4 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Star||£123.00||€164|
|3 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||£78.00||€104|
|2 numbers||+ 2 Lucky Stars||£14.20||€19|
|3 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Star||£10.70||€14|
|1 number||+ 2 Lucky Stars||£7.60||€10|
|2 numbers||+ 1 Lucky Stars||£6.00||€8|
Apart from the regular prizes and regular draws, there are a couple of additional exciting opportunities to keep in mind. EuroMillions is known for its special draws that increase the jackpot size significantly. These special events are known as Super Draws. In these instances, the jackpot begins at 130 million euro! The official EuroMillions website makes announcements about such upcoming drawings – needless to say, many people are keeping a watchful eye on those.
Starting 2016, EuroMillions has introduced a couple of innovations that affect the manner in which players can win. For a start, a new special European Millionaire Maker event has been announced. This raffle-style game is played in all of the participating EuroMillions countries. Winners are selected on a random basis from all of the submitted tickets. Winning codes are chosen at random, giving players a chance to win an additional million.
Another important change that took place in 2016 is the size of the minimum guaranteed jackpot. Previously, it was set at 15 million euro. The new rules raise the amount to 17 million euro. While ticket prices have increased slightly, as well, the higher guaranteed jackpot justifies the extra expenditure.
The Big Win at EuroMillions
That is another thing that makes EuroMillions different from many of the other lotteries offered around the world. EuroMillions does not offer annuities, but pays out the big jackpot in the form of a lump sum. When it comes to taxation, however, the answer will depend on the place from where the ticket has been purchased.
Prizes are tax-free in all but three of the European countries that participate in the lottery. In Spain, there’s a 20 percent income tax on prices that exceed 2,500 euro. In Portugal, the tax is also 20 percent, but it applies to prizes that exceed 5,000 euro. Finally, Switzerland collects a tax that’s approximately 35 percent of the sum that was won (yikes!).
The time period during which prizes have to be claimed will also vary from country to country. In Austria, people have only 28 days from the date of the drawing to collect their prizes. In France, Monaco and Luxembourg, the period is 60 days. You may want to check the official EuroMillions website to get more information about the regulations and collecting your money.
If you’re an international player, you’ll need to understand the local taxation of the country where the ticket has been purchased from and the rules in your own country. Otherwise, you may end up paying double taxes. The online lottery agent you choose can also have some fees. The lesson here is that you have to check all of those legalities before you start playing. If you don’t, a large portion of your money can end up in somebody else’s pocket.
Who Gets to Play EuroMillions?
EuroMillions is open to anyone to play depending on the country they are in. For Europeans, it is easy as they can either go purchase their lottery ticket at the corner store. The rest of us have to play through a trusted online lottery provider.
Interesting EuroMillions Facts and Stats
It’s such a popular lottery and there’s a ton of interesting information about EuroMillions. Here are some of the most curious facts and stats that I managed to come across.
Adrian and Gillian Bayford from the UK were the first couple to win the mouth-watering jackpot of 190 million euro. Their lucky ticket won the August 10, 2012 drawing and the numbers that the couple had chosen included 11, 17, 21, 48 and 50 plus lucky stars 9 and 10.
On October 24 2014, a Portuguese ticket holder replicated the success of the Bayfords. That winner, however, chose to remain anonymous.
Apart from the main event, there are a couple of additional opportunities to win EuroMillions money. These opportunities are known as Millionaire Raffle and EuroMillions Plus. Millionaire Raffle is available in the UK. Thus, people living in the kingdom get to benefit from two lotteries with each ticket that they purchase. EuroMillions Plus is an additional game and its price isn’t included in the cost of the ticket like the one of Millionaire Raffle is.
A couple of other quick facts: the minimum guaranteed jackpot per drawing is 15 million euro. The guaranteed minimum jackpot for the Super Draw is 100 million euro. The luckiest country when it comes to EuroMillions jackpot winners is France. Till present day, 67 tickets bought in the country have won a jackpot.
Buried in the very, very small print at the bottom of EuroMillion’s home page is link called ‘Scams’. As in all well established lotteries with a great reputation, their name is bantered about and used by various scam artists who send communications (now usually in the form of emails, but can include the telephone, texts and snail mail) announcing a person has won the jackpot and they are there to help facilitate their winnings.
These scams range from getting ‘fees’ or ‘taxes’ prior to payment of the jackpot to personal details that end up in identify theft. The big thing to remember is if you haven’t played, you certainly are not going to win. And if you have played, this is not going to be the way they get in touch. If you are using one of the concierge services to play EuroMillions, that service will get in touch with you. They will not ask you for payment details through any mechanism but advise you, you have won, and get you to go online to process how you are going to receive your winnings!
The Bottom Line at EuroMillions
This is a great game and I do like the odds especially the fact that if the big jackpot is capped, the secondary prize starts to look more and more like the jackpot. The sheer size of the jackpot is going to attract a lot of people, which will mean it grows even faster.
Good odds compared to some lotteries
Twice a week
The jackpot is for real – no annuity adjustment
Why I haven’t bought a ticket yet?
Be careful who you use online!
Just make sure you thoroughly check out any online lottery provider you plan to use or simply use one of our trusted ones. You can only win if you play!
Have something to add? Leave your comment below, or join the EuroMillions Discussion Group.