How to win the National Lottery: move to Birmingham and don’t pick the number 13

It's been 20 years since the National Lottery – but which postcode has the luckiest players? And what do most winners do with their money?

It’s been 20 years since the first National Lottery draw on 14th November 1994, and since then hopefuls across the country have tried to strike it lucky. “The country will be a lot richer because of the lottery,” declared then-Prime Minister John Major when he launched the first game. Lottery hosts have included Anthea Turner, Bob Monkhouse, Carol Smillie, Terry Wogan, Ulrika Jonsson and Chris Evans – and while the odds of winning are anything but favourable, people continue to play.


So, to celebrate those 20 years, here are the stats behind those lucky (and unlucky) numbers…

– 53,000,000,000: The amount of money paid out in prize money

– 161,000,000: The largest sum of money ever won in the UK. Colin & Chris Weir struck it lucky on 12 July 2012 in the EuroMillions draw

– 22,000,000: The number of people who watched Noel Edmonds host the first draw in on November 14th

2,500: The amount of money, in pounds, a set of eight Lotto balls costs to buy from the manufacturers

– 3,700: The number of people who have become millionaires and multi-millionaires through the National Lottery since November 1994 

– 314: The number of times the little green 38 ball has been drawn. This is the most drawn Lotto ball

– 229: The number of times the 13 ball has been drawn which, amazingly, makes it the unluckiest ball

– 180: The number of days players have to claim their lottery prize. In October 2014 James Wilson, 28, from Bradley Stoke in South Gloucestershire, claimed his £51,232.90 EuroMillions prize on the 180th day after clearing out an old wallet.

– 111: The number of people who have banked a seven-figure lottery cheque in Birmingham, making it the city with the most Lottery millionaires

– 100: The number of people of people who won a million pounds on the opening night of the 2012 Olympic Games. 97 of those claimed their prize.

– 70: The percentage of people who give money away to friends

– 69: The percentage of millionaires who move house after winning, although 65% of those stay within five miles of where they lived before.

– 52: The percentage of people who left their jobs after winning a million or more

– 32: The percentage of millionaires who bought a new home with their prize money

– 27: The percentage of big winners who bought a dog after claiming their millions

– 6: The percentage of Jackpot winners who hid their millionaire ticket under their pillow to keep it safe until claiming their prize 

– 4: the number of Lotto draw machines. They’re named Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot & Merlin


– 1: The percentage of millionaires who left their jobs to take up voluntary work