What Happens When You Win the Lottery?
If you are lucky enough to win a large EuroMillions prize, there are a number of steps you need to take before the money ends up in your bank. It is a simple process and you will receive assistance along the way, but it is useful to know exactly what lies in store.
This guidance only applies to big prizes, such as jackpots. Smaller prizes can be claimed from retailers or affiliated Post Offices. Go to the How to Claim page for more information.
How Long To Claim?
You have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim EuroMillions prizes in the UK. Most winners will claim within the first few days or weeks of finding out that they’ve won, but there is certainly no obligation to do so. Your claim will be valid at any time within the 180-day window.
The most important thing to do is keep your ticket safe until the claim process is underway. If you lose your ticket you may still be able to claim a prize but you must make contact with the National Lottery within 30 days. Lottery officials will then conduct rigorous security checks to validate your claim.
First Contact With The National Lottery
To kick off the claims process, you need to call the National Lottery Customer Care Team on 0333 234 44 33 if you played online, or 0333 234 50 50 if you played in-store. Contact details are also on the back of your ticket.
Your call will be handled by one of the National Lottery’s claims team. They will ask you for certain information about you and your ticket and all being well they will confirm on the phone that the details you have provided are correct and that you are a winner.
Once this is done, a validation appointment will be arranged to take place at a time and place that suits you.
The Validation Appointment
You have to meet with National Lottery advisors in person to be able to claim a prize of more than £50,000. You will be welcome to have this meeting at your home, or you can travel to one of the lottery’s regional centres in Watford or Liverpool if you would prefer. This meeting is as much an opportunity for winners to find out more about the process and what to do next as it is for the lottery to check the validity of a claim.
You can expect the appointment to take around two hours. You will need to provide two forms of identification, for example your passport and driving licence, as well as your signed winning ticket. The National Lottery’s claims advisor will fill out all the necessary paperwork and will be on hand to answer any questions you might have.
Receiving the Prize Money
The advisors have a lot of experience guiding winners and at the validation meeting they will take you through the next steps. They will recommend that you open a private bank account to receive the money into – mainly to help protect your privacy but also because banks that offer such accounts often have teams that deal specifically with lottery winners.
Once the claim has been validated and the bank account set up, the money will be transferred within 48 hours. From that point it is yours to do with as you wish. The lottery’s advisors will still be on hand to provide advice, but from then the money is yours.
Deciding Whether to Go Public
In the UK, you can choose to go public with the news of your win or stay anonymous. It is entirely up to you which course of action to take, but one of the questions that you will be asked at your validation appointment will be about how many people you have already told, as it may help you to make up your mind.
Some winners prefer to keep their identity private and continue with their lives as normally as possible, but others find it a burden to keep a secret. Visit the Publicity page to learn more about the pros and cons, and find out what previous winners have done.
If you do opt for publicity, you will have to fulfil various media obligations, including a winner’s ceremony, during which your name will be released to the wider world and you will be asked questions about your life and plans for the money.
The National Lottery provides the same level of support for winners who opt to go public and those who don’t, and it says that only around 10% of big winners decide to go public.
The Follow-Up Meeting
The National Lottery will schedule a follow-up meeting with you several weeks after you have been paid out. There will be lawyers and financial advisors on hand to make sure everything has gone smoothly and to ensure that there are no loose ends to tie up. Again, you’ll be able to ask any questions at this point.
You will also be given the opportunity to make contact with other big winners, whether that’s to ask questions about their experience or to get some support from people who have previously found themselves in the same extraordinary situation.
Whether you decide to go public or not, the National Lottery will continue to be on hand to provide support. They do not simply make the sure the money is transferred and then forget about you, as they know that it can take time to adjust to life as a big winner. They will be available to offer advice for as long as you want it, but they will always emphasise that it is up to you to do whatever you want with your money.
As life goes on and you adapt to your new financial circumstances, there are a few tax implications for you to keep in mind. While lottery winnings in the UK are not taxed, the interest on your win will be subject to income tax. If you wish to gift some of your money to others, they may also have to pay inheritance tax if you die within seven years of sharing the money. See the Taxes page to learn more.