Brexit: How has leaving the EU affected EuroMillions?
In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union, a decision that sent shockwaves across the continent and left many of the country's lottery players wondering whether or not they could still play EuroMillions. As of 11pm on 31st January 2020, the United Kingdom has left the European Union. Continue reading to find out how EuroMillions will be affected and how you can continue to take part.
Can the UK still play EuroMillions after Brexit?
Yes, UK residents can still play EuroMillions after Brexit. You do not need to live in an EU country to buy tickets. For example, Switzerland is not an EU member and has played EuroMillions since October 2004.
The agreement in place to run the game is between the UK National Lottery and the official lottery operators of the eight other participating countries, so the UK will remain a part of the EuroMillions family regardless of the nation’s political status.
How will Brexit affect UK expats in other EuroMillions countries?
You can still play EuroMillions if you are a UK expat living in another participating country.
If you are a UK citizen living in Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain or Switzerland, you can still buy tickets as usual, either online or from participating retailers in those countries.
You don’t have to be a citizen of a EuroMillions country to play there, but you must claim your prize in the country in which you bought your ticket.
How will jackpots and prizes be affected?
The outcome of the 2016 referendum to leave the EU led to a drop in the value of the pound. That actually increased the value of EuroMillions jackpots for UK players.
The base currency of EuroMillions is the euro, as it is the major currency of seven of the nine participating countries. Whenever a jackpot is paid out to a UK winner it has to be converted to pounds using the exchange rate on the day of the winning draw.
As a result, EuroMillions jackpots are actually worth more to UK players the weaker the pound is against the euro (in other words, the fewer euros you get to the pound).
A great example of this can be seen when comparing the jackpots of two of the UK’s biggest ever winners. In 2012 Adrian and Gillian Bayford won a jackpot worth €190 million, which by the exchange rates at the time of the draw was worth £148 million.
Fast forward seven years and a lot changed in the UK, including the exchange rate. In October 2019 the record for the UK’s biggest ever lottery win was broken when another sole ticket holder won €190 million. When converted to sterling the jackpot was worth £170 million – over £20 million more than the Bayfords received in 2012, even though the prize was worth exactly the same amount in euros.
Before the Brexit referendum, a €100 million jackpot was on average worth around £73.2 million. In the days that followed the referendum result, that same jackpot was worth approximately £80.8 million, an increase of £7.6 million. You can see the current value of a €100 million jackpot below.
Current example of a 100 Million Euro Jackpot:
Other prizes could also be affected by Brexit
Other EuroMillions prizes are calculated slightly differently, as they are not based directly on the exchange rate between pounds and euros. They could, however, still be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU.
EuroMillions tickets cost £2.50 in the UK, £1.74 of which is used for EuroMillions; the remaining 76p funds the UK Millionaire Maker raffle. A portion of the money from every EuroMillions ticket is allocated to a Common Prize Fund, which all participating countries pay into.
Tickets in most other countries cost €2.50, with €2.20 of that used for specifically for the EuroMillions draw. As a result, when £1.74 is worth less than €2.20, prizes in the UK are worth less than in other countries, as the UK has less revenue to use for payouts compared to those other countries. If £1.74 were worth more than €2.20, UK players would receive bigger prizes.
For example, in the draw on 27th September 2019, players in countries that use the euro won €14.60 for matching three numbers. Players that did the same in the UK won £11.00, even though the exchange rate at the time (roughly 1 EUR = 0.89 GBP) suggested it should have been more.
If the value of the pound drops further after the UK’s exit from the EU, this disparity in prize money will increase. See the Prizes page for a more detailed explanation of how EuroMillions prizes are funded.
Will Brexit affect the price of EuroMillions tickets?
The price of EuroMillions tickets is not dependent on the UK’s membership of the EU, so the ticket price will not change directly based on Brexit.
Ticket prices can change at the discretion of Camelot – the operator of the UK National Lottery – with approval from the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, which licenses and oversees the lottery.
It is always possible that ticket prices could change in the future, but Camelot and the National Lottery have made no indication that they will in the near future or on the back of Brexit.