EuroMillions comes to Portugal

If you’ve got UK Lottery withdrawal symptoms, then fear no more, EuroMillions has made its way here as Portugal joins Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and Switzerland and the three founding members, Spain, France and the UK, to form one of Europe’s largest Lotto jackpot games.

Launched in London on February 5, EuroMillions had its first draw in Paris on February 13. The lottery runs along the same lines as the UK’s Camelot National Lottery. Apart, that is, from the fact that you now have to cross more fingers, find more four-leaf clovers and walk under fewer ladders, as you are up against more people from across Europe, all hoping to bag the cash. However, with more tickets being sold, the prize fund obviously swells, so if you are lucky enough to hit the jackpot, you are in danger of winning a lot of cash!

The format of the draw, which takes place every Friday night at 9pm in Paris and is broadcast live on Sky TV, is quite straightforward. You choose five numbers from a selection of 50 and a further two numbers from a selection of nine. These final two numbers are called ‘Lucky Stars’, although whether you choose to thank them or not depends on how much you win.

To hit the jackpot you need to match all five numbers and the two Lucky Stars. So far, this has been achieved eight times, twice in Spain, once in Britain and five times in France, where the record win was 33 million euros. With so few jackpots being won, the money is rolled over and this is where the appeal lies. For example, if you played last week (October 22) which was a roll-over week, there was an estimated jackpot of 24 million euros!

There are 11 other combinations of matching numbers to make your bank account look a little healthier and, unlike the odds of 1:76,275,360 for winning the jackpot, the chances of scooping these smaller prizes are a little more realistic. If you beat the odds, the following combinations will make you a winner!

Balls Matched Odds Average Prize in euros

5 & 2 Stars (JACKPOT!) 1:76,275,360 20,179,477.00

5 & 1 Star 1:5,448,240 462,858.00

5 1:3,632,160 99,340.60

4 & 2 Stars 1:339,002 9,269.58

4 & 1 Star 1:24,214 297.94

4 1:16,143 198.62

3 & 2 Stars 1:7,705 139.10

3 & 1 Star 1:550 44.39

2 & 2 Stars 1:538 28.97

3 1:367 19.75

1 & 2 Stars 1:102 11.39

2 & 1 Star 1:38 9.66

To give you an idea of how the prize fund is made up, the UK’s Lottery Board, Camelot, has said that, “approximately 50 per cent of sales will go towards prizes, with approximately 12.5 per cent of sales funding the top-tier prize level”. One ticket with one set of numbers on it will cost you two euros and you can buy them from any newsagent, café, supermarket or shop that has the EuroMillions sign outside. Or, if you fancy playing from the comfort of your own home, you can play online. There are many websites advertising EuroMillions, but the one that I found most accessible was the National Lottery’s website at – you just click on the EuroMillions icon and make your choice. Warning: take your time this week as I’m sure I’ve picked the winning numbers this time. I wish you all good luck for next week, while I think about what to do with my winnings…exotic holiday, new wardrobe, new car… Louise Pimm