Unlike some lotteries, which offer fixed prizes in their various categories, EuroMillions works on a pari-mutuel basis. This means that the prize pool is split between winners, so the value of each award can only be calculated after a draw has taken place.
Each of the 13 prize tiers in EuroMillions is allocated a percentage of the total prize fund, then this money is shared between all the winners in that category. The payout per winner therefore depends on both ticket sales and the number of winners.
If there are a high number of ticket sales, for example, it creates a large prize pot. If there are a low number of winners in a particular tier, each of these players will receive a bigger payout. If there are low ticket sales and a high number of winners, by contrast, the payout is much smaller.
The jackpot receives the highest percentage of the prize fund because this is what attracts millions of players to the game and it is important for it to be able to grow quickly, but the percentage allocated to each of the other categories takes into account the expected number of winners. As you are more likely to match two numbers than three or four, for instance, a higher percentage needs to be given to this bottom tier to pay all the winners.
If 52,500 players matched three numbers and there’s £15 million in the prize pool, for example, they would each get £10 because 3.5 percent of the prize fund is set aside for this tier.
The pari-mutuel nature of prizes can lead to some unusual results when there are more or less winners than normal in some of the categories. Occasionally, the payout for one of the lower tiers may be higher than the payout for a higher tier. For example, the Match 3 prize is usually larger than the Match 1 + 2 prize, but on Tuesday 30th April it was the other way around.
Go to the Prizes page to find out more information, including the highest and lowest payouts for each category, plus the average. You can also read about why prizes differ between the participating countries and are not just based on the exchange rate.
How to Boost Your Prize
The ideal scenario for any EuroMillions winner is to claim the largest prize possible, and for that to happen it is best to have as few other players in your category as you can. One way to do this is to avoid popular sequences or patterns that lots of other ticket holders might be using.
If the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 ever appeared together, for example, it is likely that lots of players would have chosen these numbers and would therefore have to share the prize money, leaving them with less than they might have expected. Use the Random Number Generator to find a set of random numbers you might like to try in the next draw.
EuroMillions HotPicks Prizes
The prizes in EuroMillions HotPicks are not calculated in a pari-mutuel way and are instead fixed at the same value for every draw. The advantage here is that you do not need to worry about how many other winners there are as you will always be guaranteed the listed amount. If you play Pick 5 and win, you receive £1 million even if there are multiple winners.
However, there is only a limited amount of money in the prize pot, and so prizes can be capped in exceptional circumstances when there are lots more winners than expected in a particular game.
This was the case on Tuesday 30th April, when the prize for the Pick 1 game was £9 instead of the usual £10. There were 5,312 winners, compared to 2,583 in the previous draw, and so there was not enough money in the prize fund to pay everyone £10.