How to play and win Lotto: everything you need to know about how Lotto works

Lottery games are played across South Africa for fun but also with the hope of winning a prize. Lotto is a game of chance, and the player needs to be aware of the fact that there are probabilities for winning as well as losing. You must understand tips on how to play and win Lotto to increase your chances of winning.

Lotto is a popular game in Mzansi. Many people have won multi-million rand prizes since its inception in 2000. How does Lotto work? Below are all the details you need to know.

About Lotto South Africa

The National Lottery in South Africa launched Lotto as its first lottery game. The first draw was carried out on 11th March 2000. Lotto used to be played only on Saturdays until when a second weekly draw was set to be held on Wednesdays from October 2001. The numbers to play used to be 6/49 before it became 6/52 in August 2017. Daily Lotto started on 10th March 2019.

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Lotto draws happen on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:56 pm. Each draw has eight prize divisions, including the jackpot draw. You can also play Daily Lotto, which happens every day of the week at 9:00 pm. Daily Lotto has 4 prize divisions, and you are supposed to select 5 numbers from 1 to 36. Free Lotto has daily and weekly draws. In Free Lotto, you must match all the six numbers from 1 to 75 to win a prize.

How to play Lotto

There are several ways you can take part in lottery games in South Africa. You can play online, at a retailer, or via various banking websites and applications. You can also play via the Lotto app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store using your Lotto log in details.

How to play Lotto online in South Africa

When you play online, your entry numbers are automatically checked, and you will receive a notification if you are the winner. The following process will help you play Lotto online.

  • Log in to your Lotto account. If you do not have an online account, you have to register.
  • Select six numbers from 1 to 52. You also have the option to select a Quick Pick for a random set.
  • You can enter Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2. Remember that you can only play Lotto Plus 2 if you are playing Lotto Plus 1.
  • Pick the number of draws you would like to enter.
  • Make payments for the entries.
  • An email will be sent to you with entry confirmation. The numbers you picked will then be saved in your account.

How to play Lotto at a lottery retail store

There are several national lottery retailers in South Africa. Ensure that you purchase your ticket before the cut-off time reaches. The cut off time for Lotto and Daily Lotto stop at 8.30 pm on the draw day. Follow this procedure to play the game at a retail shop.

  • Get your bet slip from a lottery shop.
  • Mark the Lottery Plus 1 and Lottery Plus 2 boxes if you are interested in playing an additional game.
  • Select six numbers from 1 to 52 on any number of boards you would like to play. You also have the option to mark a Quick Pick for a random set of numbers.
  • Mark the number of draws you want to enter at the top of your bet slip. You can skip this step if you are interested in one draw.
  • Make the necessary payments at the cashier.
  • Remember to indicate your ID number, address, and name at the back of your ticket since the details are required to claim a prize.
  • Ensure your ticket is kept safely.

How to play Lotto via banking websites, apps, and ATMs

Several major banks in South Africa have partnered with the National Lottery to allow lottery players to play via their websites and apps. Such banks include First National Bank (FNB), Standard Bank, and Nedbank. You must be a customer of a particular bank for you to use this method.

How to play via the FNB website

Follow this simple procedure.

  • Sign in to your online bank account.
  • Click on Buy then the game you are interested in playing.
  • Click the Play Now tab, then choose your numbers and click Done. You can also choose Quick Pick instead of the Play Now tab for random numbers.
  • Click on the Buy tab then the Confirm button.

How to play via the Nedbank website

  • Sign in to the online bank account.
  • Click on the Lotto menu.
  • Click on Purchase Lotto.
  • Select your preferred game.
  • Choose the boards, and the number of draws then click on the Make Purchase tab.
  • Click on the Confirm Purchases tab.

Lottery tickets are available for purchase from the Nedbank website from Monday to Saturday between 6:00 am and 10:30 pm. You will find tickets on Sundays between 6:00 pm and 5:30 pm.

How to play via the Standard Bank Website

  • Log in to your bank account.
  • Click on the More tab.
  • Click on Play Lotto.
  • Select the account you will use to purchase tickets.
  • Click on the supplementary game if you wish.
  • Choose the number of boards you wish to play.
  • Choose the number of draws you wish to play.
  • Confirm the information then click the Accept terms and conditions box.

Remember that if you are using an Android phone, you cannot select your numbers of choice. You will only have access to Quick Pick.

How to play Lotto at an ATM

Below are simple steps to follow when you want to play Lotto from an FNB ATM. You should remember that ATMs have the Quick Pick option only.

  • Place your ATM card into the machine and enter your PIN.
  • Click on the More Options tab.
  • Click on the Prepaid/Lotto tab.
  • Click on the Lotto/PowerBall button.
  • Select the game to play.
  • Choose the number of boards to play.
  • Confirm the account number that will be used to pay for your entries.
  • Pick your receipt.

How do you play Lotto offline?

You can still participate in lottery games without the internet via USSD on your cellphone. You do not need any application to access this service. You only need the USSD code from your bank or the lottery channel. Remember that you must be registered with the bank or lottery platform to access the service. Follow this simple procedure.

1. Input your bank’s USSD code. 

  • Nedbank: *120*001#
  • Standard Bank: *120*2345#
  • FNB: *120*321# or *130*321#

2. Follow the prompts, then confirm your ticket purchase.

How much do you pay for Lotto entries?

The entry fee for the Lotto board is R5.00, while the Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2 boards each cost R2.50. You will need to pay a total entry fee of R10.00 if you play Lotto and the additional Lotto Plus games. The Daily Lotto entry ticket costs R3.

How to win the Lotto

You will win a lottery prize if your numbers match the ones drawn, but the numbers do not have to be in the same order as the ones drawn. Remember that you will win more if you match more numbers. You can only win the jackpot if all the six numbers selected match the ones drawn. Jackpot prizes are rolled over to the next Lotto draw until a winner is found. 

There is no limit as to how much the jackpot prize can grow before a winner is found. Free Lotto jackpots are not rolled over and will, therefore, not be awarded if no winner is found. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 20,358,520, while the overall odds of getting any Lotto prize are 1 in 38. The following tips will help you win.

  • It is wise to have an even combination of odd and even numbers. You can have an odd/even mix of 3/3, 2/4, or 4/2 to increase the winning probability.
  • Study past winning Lotto numbers and see the number group that is often omitted. For example, if the winning numbers are 4-11-16-33-49, the number group 20 is missing.
  • Ensure that the numbers chosen are evenly spread across the number field, which is 1 to 52. The low numbers range from 1 to 26 while the high numbers range from 27 to 52. You can have a high/low mix of 3/3, 2/4, or 4/2 to increase your probability of getting the prize.
  • The total sum of all the 6 numbers selected should range between 122 and 196 to increase winning chances.
  • Study the Advantage Gold charts to understand the trend of cold and hot numbers and know when they have the best chance of winning.

How do you claim Lotto prizes?

The method you use to claim your prize depends on how you entered the lottery. If you have won, you must ensure that you go for your prize before a period of 365 days elapses since you won. You cannot claim the prize after this period, and 50% of the prize will be taken to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund for charity.

How do you claim prizes won from a retail store?

You must ensure that your ID number, home address, and name are written at the back of your ticket before going to take your prize. You then have to follow the procedure, depending on the size of the prize won.

A win of up to R2,000

It can be claimed at any lottery store that is registered. The payment time is immediate and is made in cash.

A win of between R2,001 to R49,999.99

Get your prize from a payment center that has authorization, which in most cases, is the local post office. The payment can be through cheque or Electronic Funds Transfer. EFT can take up to 72 hours, while cheque can take up to 10 business days.

A win of R50,000 or more

You have to fill an official Prize Claim Form found at a post office. After the validation of your entry, you will have to collect the prize from an Ithuba regional office near you.

How to claim prizes won online

If you have won cash prizes of up to R49,999.99, they will be transferred directly to your online account. Winnings of R50,000 or more are claimed at your nearest Ithuba regional office after filling the Prize Claim Form, and your entry is validated.

How to claim prizes won via the bank

Winnings of less than R50,000 are transferred directly to your account within seven working days. Those who win R50,000 or more claim the prize from the Ithuba regional offices after filling the Prize Claim Form. You will also be required to provide identification documents, ticket reference number, and your bank statement for the last month before claiming your prize at the Ithuba regional offices. In case your bank account is blocked or closed, you will make arrangements with the bank for another form of payment.

How to claim prizes won via the phone

The National Lottery, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank support purchase of lottery tickets using USSD codes. The following is how you can claim your winnings.

Cash prizes of less than R50,000

The cash prize will be sent to the mobile account used to buy the lottery ticket within seven working days. You can transfer the cash to your bank account using the respective USSD codes. If you win through the National Lottery account, they will send you a confirmation SMS and details on how to take your prize. The cash will then be transferred to the e-Wallet linked to your account. If you want the money to be transferred to your bank account, dial *120*277# and follow the prompts.

Cash prizes of R50,000 or more

The bank will contact you and give the instructions to follow. You will then have to go to an Ithuba regional office to pick your winning. If you win through the National Lottery, you will get a confirmation message, after which you will visit an Ithuba regional office with the right documents to pick your price.

What happens if you lose or damage your ticket?

You have to report to the Ithuba offices who will verify your claims using CCTV and cross-check computer records. You will receive your prize if your claims are found to be true. You are advised to have a copy of your ticket, especially if you are sending it by the post office.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What else do you know concerning the lottery SA? Here are some of the most common questions.

How many numbers do you need to win the Lotto?

The Lotto has 8 prize divisions. For you to win the Lotto Jackpot, all the six numbers must match the numbers drawn in any order. The other prize divisions range from 2 numbers with a bonus ball until 5 correct numbers with a bonus ball. The more your selected numbers match with the numbers drawn, the higher the prize.

How much is it to play Lotto?

The entry fee for the Lotto board is R5.00, while the Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2 boards each cost R2.50.

How do you play Lotto by SMS?

You need to dial the USSD codes for selected Lotto banks or the National Lottery then follow the prompts. The codes are as follows. 

  • Nedbank: *120*001#
  • Standard Bank: *120*2345#
  • FNB: *120*321# or *130*321#
  • The National Lottery: *120*277#

How do you play national lottery?

You play the national lottery by purchasing a lottery ticket from a licensed retail store, the National Lottery, via online platforms, or using SMS.

What are the most common winning lottery numbers?

16 is the most commonly drawn number after appearing in 263 draws followed by 2, 30, 23, and 8 in that order. 15 and 47 is the most drawn pair in 40 draws.

How do you pick the winning lottery numbers?

These tips will help increase your chances of winning lottery games.

  • Ensure you have an even mix of odd and even numbers.
  • Spread the selected numbers across the entire number field from 1 to 52.
  • Study past lottery number groups.
  • The sum of the selected numbers should fall between 122 and 196.
  • Study the repeat hits for past Lotto results.
  • Study the trend of cold and hot numbers.

What happens when you win the Lotto South Africa?

Lotto winners are supposed to claim their prizes within one year after the draw. The method used to claim the prize depends on how you played and the amount of cash prize won. 

The above information on how to play and win Lotto in South Africa is enough to help you make an informed selection. Follow the guidelines to increase your winning probabilities. It is also wise to seek further expert advice on this topic. You should also be vigilant to avoid falling victim to lottery scams.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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