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Why Were Some UK EuroMillions Prizes Worth Less Than the Cost of a Ticket?

UK EuroMillions players may have been surprised to find that the Match 2 prize in the past four draws has been worth less than £2.50, the cost of a single line for the game. There are a number of reasons for this occurrence, with the falling value of the pound and a larger than usual number of UK winners in that tier being most prominent.

How Brexit Has Affected EuroMillions

Since the price of a EuroMillions ticket rose to £2.50 on 24th September as part of a host of EuroMillions changes, the value of the prize for matching two main numbers has stood between £2.20 and £2.40 in four draws. This run began with the draw on Tuesday 4th October, which came just two days after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that Brexit negotiations would begin early in 2017. That news caused the value of the pound to plummet against other currencies, including the Euro.

This has affected prize levels because EuroMillions costs £1.65 to play in the UK (the additional 85p covers entry to the UK-only Millionaire Maker) and €2.20 in countries that use the game’s base currency, the Euro. Most of these nations also provide their own special draws, which boosts the price of a ticket in those countries to €2.50. The pound’s crash means that €2.20 is now worth £1.98, but UK players are still only paying £1.65 into the pot, essentially meaning they are contributing less than their European counterparts. This makes the sterling prize fund lower than that for Euro countries and is the reason that, whilst UK players won £2.20 in the Match 2 tier on Friday 14th October, those across the Channel received €3.60 (£3.24 at today’s exchange rate).

However, when the pound is stronger and UK players effectively contribute more to the game, UK prizes are accordingly higher than those won on the continent.

Pari-Mutuel Prizes

EuroMillions prizes are pari-mutuel, meaning that they are worked out by taking the total percentage of the prize fund allocated to each tier and dividing it by the number of winners in that tier. This means that in a draw where lots of people have played but there are not many winners who have matched the same amount and type of numbers as you, your prize would be larger than in a draw with fewer players, but more successful participants in your winning tier.

With the UK prize fund already lower because of the weak pound, the fact that there were 354,062 UK Match 2 winners on Friday 14th October compared with 292,239 on Friday 2nd September is another reason why sterling prize values have been lower lately.

Good News for Jackpots

Although the crash of the pound has affected the prize fund for the lower tiers, this works in the favour of UK players when it comes to the EuroMillions jackpot. As that prize is a straight exchange from Euros to sterling, the pound value is much higher than it would be if the currency was stronger.

There is a £23 million (€25 million) jackpot on offer tonight and you can play EuroMillions online or by buying tickets at authorised retailers across the participating nations.  

Published: Tue, 18 October 2016 - 10:33am
Last Updated: Fri, 6 January 2023 - 1:06pm
Published By: Euro-Millions.com