Lottery Lingo You Should Know

Whether you’re a seasoned online lottery player or just registered to play the world’s biggest and best international lotto games, you may find that you don’t know all the lottery lingo. For example, do you know what pari-mutuel or roll down is? Let’s take a look at some of the important terms that you will come across when playing the lottery online.

The lottery is a game of chance, where you could instantly become a mega millionaire simply due to the fact that your lucky lotto numbers you played matched those that tumbled out the draw machine.

It’s not just the jackpot players need to concern themselves with, as all the various lotto games come with a variety of differently sized cash prizes for different combinations of winning numbers.

For lottery players who regularly play the lottery online, you probably double check the size of your favourite lottery or play another game that gives you the opportunity to become insanely rich. You might even have a system or a superstition for the way in which you pick your numbers.

But, there's a lot more to playing lottery games such as the US Powerball, Mega Millions Max, EuroMillions etc. than just picking your favourite numbers, crossing your fingers and holding your thumbs.

That's why we've put together this list of lottery lingo we think every player should know:

Lottery Lingo You Should Know

  • Annuity –If you are lucky enough to hit the jackpot, you will be given a choice as to how you want your prize to be paid out. One option is to have it paid out in instalments over a number of years. This is an annuity option. This is in contrast to the cash pay-out that is paid out immediately but the player receives only a percentage value of the total jackpot value (about 60%). The American lotteries: USA Powerball and Mega Millions are examples of lotteries that offer the choice between a cash or annuity payment.
  • Ball set – A ball set is the set of balls that the lottery uses. These vary from one lottery to another.  The most common ball set comprises of 49 balls. Lotteries will also vary on the number of ball sets that are available for possible use in a draw. For example, the UK National Lottery has 14 different sets of 49 balls. The balls used in the gravity pick lotto machines are made up of solid rubber and weigh precisely 80g each. They cost $60 per ball which will have a lifetime of approximately 2-3 years before they will need replacing.  As part of the tests done for every draw, the balls are weighed to ensure that there is negligible weight difference.
  • Big 5 Bundle – The Big 5 bundle features 5 of the most popular lotteries in the world – Eurojackpot, EuroMillions, SuperEna Max, Mega Millions and US Powerball that you can play with one simple click.
  • Bonus ball – The bonus ball is an additional ball that is drawn after the main lottery winning numbers have been drawn. This gets applied to a few secondary prize tiers and creates an additional prize tier with bigger prizes than a player would get without matching the bonus ball. 
  • Bundles – There are various bundle play options on PlayUKLottery. In essence the bundle play option represents a more efficient and easier way to play a collection of different lotteries with a simple click of the button. There are 3 types of bundles; Standard, Super 7 and the Big 5 bundle. By opting to play a bundle players will receive a discount on the entries. All numbers entered are Quick Pick entries.
  • Caixa - Caixa Econômica Federal is a Brazilian bank and are the organising body of the giant Brazilian Mega-Sena lottery.
  • Camelot – The Camelot Group are the operators of the UK National Lottery.
  • Cash pay-out – Also referred to as a cash option or lump sum pay-out. Certain lotteries offer the choice between an annuity payment of the jackpot prize or of taking a lesser value but paid immediately as a cash.  The cash value is based on a percentage of the total jackpot value available.
  • Cold numbers - These are numbers that are overdue, meaning they have not appeared in a lottery draw for a long time.
  • Cut-off – Every lottery has a cut-off time by which entries must be submitted. It is always advisable to make sure that you get your entries in timeously to avoid disappointment, however, if you miss the deadline for a draw the entries are placed automatically in the next draw.
  • Fixed pay-out - this refers to the number and amounts of cash prizes available for a draw, no matter how many tickets are sold. This often applies to daily number games.
  • Holiday raffles – Holiday raffles refer to the big Spanish raffles that occur over Christmas, New Year and mid-year.
  • Hot numbers – These are numbers that have appeared regularly in recent lottery draws.
  • Intelliplay –  Intelliplay is a set of predefined rules that ensures you never miss any lottery draws when your entry criteria have been met. By opting to use Intelliplay and selecting your unique set of rules, you will be automatically entered into draws once the jackpot has reached a certain level or once a certain number of rollovers have occurred or in the event of a special SuperDraw.
  • Jackpot – A lottery jackpot is the top prize available to be won in any lottery game. To win a jackpot a player must match all of the balls correctly. Jackpot values vary from lottery to lottery from more modest values in games like Mega Sena and UK Lottery to record breaking jackpot amounts offered on games like USA Powerball, Mega Millions. Jackpot values will also depend on ticket sales for the draw, the number of rollovers that occur, the odds of matching all the balls and whether a rollover or jackpot cap is in place.
  • Jackpot limit – Certain lotteries such as the EuroJackpot and EuroMillions have a maximum value that a jackpot can reach. This is also called the jackpot cap. Once it reaches the jackpot limit, the pot will stop growing. There are varying rules governing what will occur when the maximum jackpot amount is reached depending on the lottery involved.
  • Jolly Number – This is the name given to the bonus ball in the SuperEnaLotto. The Jolly number gives players an extra chance to those who have matched 5 balls.
  • Lottery entry –An entry or ticket consists of a set of numbers that will be entered into a draw. If the numbers on the entries match the winning numbers then you will win the jackpot.
  • Lottery newsletter –The best way to make sure you have the best possible chance of winning a huge jackpot while saving you money at the same time is to subscribe to the PlayUKLottery newsletter. They are jam-packed with vital jackpot information and unbelievable discounts.
  • Lottery results – This refers to the outcome of a lottery draw and is a broader term than simply the winning numbers. Lottery results can include the total number of prize winners and the amounts won per player and per tier in total in addition to the winning numbers.
  • Lottery winning numbers – The numbers that are picked in the lottery draw are known as the lottery winning numbers. If a player matches above a certain combination of the winning numbers he will win a prize, the value will vary depending on the amount of numbers matched. If a player matches all the winning lottery numbers they have won the biggest prize on offer, the jackpot.
  • LottoPoints – The name of the PlayUKLottery rewards program. Players earn ‘points’ on every cash transaction. Points accumulate over a 30 day cycle and can be redeemed for free lottery tickets.
  • Lucky Star numbers – In addition to the five regular numbers that players must choose in EuroMillions, they are required to choose an additional two ‘star’ numbers. Players choose two numbers from a possible twelve and matching one or both star numbers in addition to the standard numbers will win players higher prize amounts. To win the jackpot players must match both the five standard numbers and the two star numbers.
  • Mega Ball – On the Mega Millions lottery, in addition to the standard 5 numbers drawn from a possible 70, Mega Millions players have to pick an additional 1 number out of a possible 25. This 6th number is called the Mega Ball.
  • Multi-State lotteries – In the USA certain lotteries are played across a number of different States. Ticket sales are combined across all the various States to create some truly spectacular jackpot amounts.
  • Pari-mutuel - This pay-out is the prize amount divided equally amongst the winners where there are several winners. So, remember, you might have the winning combination, but so could several other players around the country.
  • Play block –The play block refers to the number selection block on the ‘PLAY’ page. The play block displays the next estimated jackpot prize along with a countdown clock with the amount of time left to cut-off. Players simply select their numbers and span (or choose the Quick Pick option) and press the ‘Play Numbers’ button.
  • Play options – PlayUKLottery.com has a number of various play options. These options are presented in the top menu bar of the site. Play options include Rapid play, Bundle play, Intelliplay and Extra numbers.
  • Prize Pool - A prize pool refers to the money from ticket sales that are used to pay prizes in that draw.
  • Prize tiers –Every lottery game differs in the number of prize tiers available and the values available to be won in each.
  • Quick Pick – A QuickPick is a randomly generated set of number combinations.
  • Rollover - When the jackpot isn't won, it rolls over to the next draw and accumulates until a winning combination comes up resulting in a larger draw size.
  • Sisal – Sisal is the private company that first introduced betting games into the Italian market. They are the official organisers of the popular Italian lottery, the SuperEnaLotto.
  • Span – To play a spanned entry is to play entries for draws in advance.
  • SuperDraw – The EuroMillions lottery holds special draws with very large guaranteed jackpots at least three times a year. These are called Superdraws. The jackpots are usually set at €130 million.
  • Winner – What you could be this week, if you play the lottery online right here at PlayUKLottery.com.


You can see, there is a lot of lottery lingo used in the lottery world. Knowing what they mean can be very important, especially if a big win comes along.

Now that you have a good understanding of the most common lottery lingo, it's time to partner up with Lady Luck and try your chances and who knows you could be the next BIG lottery jackpot winner!



This post was written by
Jason L - who has written 3052 articles
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