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15 April 2016

A Comprehensive Guide To Europe's Key Lotteries

Euro Lottery

There are currently over fifty different lotteries on offer in Europe, with a mix of domestic and Pan-European draws available. Lottoland prides itself on offering the biggest draws to bet on, which would otherwise be unavailable to lottery fans. So what exactly are these lotteries? And what, exactly, makes them so exciting?

Note: at Lottoland you are betting on the lottery results and not buying official lottery tickets.

Euro Lottery

Multi-National European Lotteries

The two biggest lottery draws on this side of the Atlantic are the Pan-European EuroMillions and EuroJackpot.

Launched in February 2004, the original EuroMillions format covered the UK, France and Spain with the actual draw being held in Paris. Since then Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland have all joined the EuroMillions.

The biggest jackpot was claimed by an anonymous Portuguese player, who scooped €190 million, however due to Portuguese taxes levied on winners, the highest real amount went to Colin and Christine Weir from Scotland with their £161 million win. As if that wasn't confusing enough, the biggest actual winners in Euros was Gillian and Adrian Bayford, who won £148,000,000. The most important thing to take from that is there have been some huge jackpots. 

The odds of claiming the EuroMillions jackpot are 1:116,531,800.

EuroJackpot was created to rival the EuroMillions and covers 18 different countries, mostly in central, Northern and Eastern Europe. It was first proposed in 2006, while it's first draw happened in late March, 2012.

Similar to the EuroMillions, to hit the jackpot participants must match 5 numbers and the two bonus balls. The odds of winning the EuroJackpot is 1:59,325,280 and the biggest ever jackpot win was £71,000,000, which went to an anonymous Czech winner.

There is another international lottery in Europe, the Viking Lottery. As its name suggests, it happens in Northern Europe and residents of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia can enter. It also predates both the EuroMillions and EuroJackpot draws, having been created in 1993.

Entry to the Viking Lotto is considerably cheaper than the aforementioned lotteries, with tickets costing approximately 50p. The largest jackpot was claimed in 2005 and totalled around £4.7 million. The odds of winning the Viking Lotto are 1:12,271,512.

This table nicely illustrates how some of Europe's key lotteries compare to each other, and their international counterparts:

Euro Lottery

National European Lotteries

Thirty-six European countries have their own lottery, with many countries having several on offer, each with their own entry fees and jackpots.

One of the most notable is Italy's SuperEnalotto, which has some of the largest jackpots in the world. Of the top 5 biggest wins in Europe, the 2nd and 3rd biggest were SuperEnalotto, beating many of the biggest EuroMillions draws.

The downside of this Italian lottery is the odds on scooping the jackpot, which are famously high, standing at 1 in 622,614,630. The odds against you winning are 5x higher than the EuroMillions, thanks to the challenge of having to match 6 numbers between 1 and 90.

After the SuperEnalotto the second biggest national jackpot came in the Netherlands, where a player from Utrecht walked away with £30 million.

The Dutch lottery has been running in some form since 1726 and is hugely popular, with over half of Dutch adults playing on a regular basis. It also has some of the best odds for any national lottery, with an average of 1 in 2 players winning one of the prize tiers.

While Italy and Holland may have seen the biggest one-time pay outs, it's the German lottery that gives out the most each year, with around £1.6 billion paid out annually. The average weekly jackpot is also higher than most, at approximately £4.1 million on a non-roll over draw and the biggest jackpot of £35 million being split between three lucky winners in 2007.

The German lottery is incredibly popular and to enter participants simply select 6 numbers between 1 and 49, with the chance of banking the top prize being 1 in 139,838,160.

The UK and Ireland both have an official national lottery, although the UK has larger jackpots but with higher jackpot odds. For the UK Lotto the chance of taking home the jackpot is 1:45,057,474 while the Irish Lotto stands at 1:10,737,573. Because of this many English players choose to enter the Irish draw instead.

When it comes to countries with the best range of lotteries, it's hard to top Spain. The BonoLoto is drawn four times a week and is one of the more popular, and more affordable options in the country.

La Primitiva is drawn on Sundays and aside from being one of the country's most popular lotteries, it is also one of the oldest in the world, having been launched 1763. It plays the same as the German lottery, with 6 picks of numbers 1 to 49. Draws are made on Thursdays and Saturdays and the standard jackpot is around €10 million. Not to be mistaken with the Spanish Christmas Lottery that is also dubbed "El Gordo" (more on that later), El Gordo Primitiva is another Spanish weekly lottery, that is drawn every Sunday.

Like Spain, Poland offers a very diverse range of lotteries, which you can bet on right here at Lottoland. There is the traditional Polish Lottery, which operates on the same 6 ball system as Germany, with draws taking place on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Entry for this is a modest 60p per ticket. 

There is also the Mini Lotto and Multi Keno, which are both popular due to the flexibility they offer participants, as well as their relatively low ticket costs.

Mini Lotto is like a scaled down version of the standard draw, tickets are 25p and the jackpot starts at around 50k, providing there are no roll overs.

With Multi Keno players can choose between 1 and 10 numbers to play, and this will affect how big their potential prize can be. They can also choose to multiply their stake which will again change the potential winnings.

The advantage of Keno is your stake can be exactly what you want, from 25p to a whopping £50, depending on variables, and this has gained it a lot of fans.

Keno is very popular in Eastern European markets, with countries like Estonia also offering their own versions, which operate in a very similar format.

Estonia, which is also part of the Viking Lotto countries, has its own Bingo Lottery, which is the most popular draw in the country. The Bingo Loto has a dedicated prime time TV show on a Wednesday evening, during which time the numbers are chosen for the week. So far it has made 51 players millionaires.

Yearly Draws

There are two big annual draws in Spain that are worth knowing about, El Gordo and El Niño. Since 1812 the Spanish Government has arranged a Christmas Lottery (El Gordo) which is drawn every December on the 22nd. Paying out a total of €2 billion, with €720 million going to the winners of the main "El Gordo" prize, it is the largest draw in the world.

El Gordo actually functions more like a raffle, with tickets between 00000 and 99999 produced, and the winner drawn from a large drum. However, there are 160 sets of the 00000 to 99999 tickets made, meaning that technically up to 160 players could win the top prize tier.

The second highest is El Niño, which takes place on the 6th of January. The prize pool is roughly a quarter of El Gordo, but it is still a hugely popular draw in both Spain and around the world. 

Despite the huge range of European lotteries, EuroMillions remains consistently popular with players across the continent, and has made hundreds of people millionaires since its launch. 


The lottery is so much more than a weekly draw, behind every game is a wealth of amazing stories and fascinating facts, and that's why I love it.

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