The Irish Lotto

Updated April 13, 2022
The Irish Lotto is the main lottery game under the National Lottery banner in Ireland. It began as a scratchcard-only game in 1987, but a year later became a typical ‘lucky numbers’-type lottery draw. It has been running ever since and is commissioned by the Irish government.
Online Lottery

Lots of people have become instant millionaires via playing the Irish Lotto, while the Lotto itself has raised millions for good causes such as health, welfare and the environment.

How much can I win with the Irish Lotto?

While never matching the dazzling figures of US lotteries such as the Powerball, an Irish lotto bet can still win you a substantial amount of money. The largest-ever Irish Lotto win was achieved in 2008 by a syndicate of 16 people. They took home a share of €18.9 million (around £15 million at the time).

The lotto runs twice per week and the jackpot starts at €2 million (£1.75 million). It frequently rolls over and jackpot wins usually range between €6 million and €10 million (£5.25 million and £8.8 million).

How does the Irish Lotto work?

The Irish Lotto runs every Wednesday and Saturday. The minimum entry is two lines per ticket purchased, therefore in order to play you need to select two lines of six numbers from 1 to 47. You have until 7.45pm (GMT) on the days of the draw to complete your entry.

During the draw, six balls are drawn plus one bonus ball. The jackpot (minimum €2 million) is won by matching all six balls. You also win a prize if you match at least three main draw balls, or two balls and the bonus ball.

How do I bet on the Irish Lotto?

While you do have to be an Irish resident to buy Irish Lotto tickets, you do not have to be an Irish resident to bet on the Irish Lotto. You can bet on the Irish Lotto anywhere in the world via an online lottery site. In effect, you are betting with the site that you will win the lottery. The site will cover your bet by buying an Irish Lotto ticket using the numbers you have selected.

Here is how to bet on the Irish Lotto

  • Sign up for a recommended lottery site that allows bets on the Irish Lotto
  • Go to the section on the site that covers the Irish Lotto
  • Follow the advised selection criteria. In this case, you will have to select two sets of six numbers. Note that you can set up a ‘regular’ bet so that you use the same dozen numbers for as many consecutive draws as you want.
  • Some sites will allow you to bet on a single line, for €2. In this case, you will be sharing your lottery ticket with someone else, but if your set of numbers win then the jackpot is all yours.
  • Once you have made your selection, confirm your selection. You need to make sure that you have enough funds in your lottery account to cover the cost of the draw, which in this case is €4 for two sets of numbers
  • Check the Irish Lotto bet results after the draw has taken place and see if you’ve been lucky!

What types of bet can I place?

There are other ways of betting on the Irish Lotto, as follows.

  • Syndicate betting. This is where you join a syndicate bet at the online lottery site. When you select your six (or twelve) numbers, your numbers will be pooled along with other people’s. The number of people depends upon the lottery betting site. If any member(s) of the syndicate wins then all funds are shared between those in the syndicate. Syndicate betting will increase your chances of winning, but you will have to share your prize(s) with other people.
  • Subscription. To save yourself the hassle of placing a bet for every Irish Lotto draw, you can ‘subscribe’ to a draw for as long as you wish. Here, each set of numbers you choose will be used to buy lottery tickets for every draw made until you say otherwise. You must make sure that you have enough funds in your lottery site account to pay your subscription, else you may miss out!
  • Irish Lotto bonus balls. You can, if you want, bet on the bonus ball only that is drawn as the last ball in every Irish Lotto draw. This gives you a 1-in-47 chance of being correct. You can also bet on the additional bonus balls for the Plus 1 and Plus 2 Irish Lottos, which are additional draws made alongside the main draw.

What are the odds of the different Irish Lotto games, and what are the prize categories?

There are three draws made when it’s lotto time in Ireland – the Irish Lotto, the Irish Lotto Plus 1 and the Irish Lotto Plus 2. Here is a comparison table of the odds of winning, and expected returns for each:

CategoryOddsLotto ReturnsLotto Plus 1 ReturnsLotto Plus 2 Returns
6 numbers1 in 10,7373,573Jackpot£900,000£225,000
5 numbers + bonus1 in 1,789,596£73,000£4,500£2,250
5 numbers1 in 44,740£1,100£450£225
4 numbers + bonus1 in 17,896£110£45£22
4 numbers1 in 918£36£16£9
3 numbers + bonus1 in 688£18£9£4.50
3 numbers1 in 54£7£2.70£2.67
2 numbers + bonus1 in 72£2£1.78£1.78

What are the other Irish Lotto draws?

There are three draws made – the main draw plus two additional draws. There is also a raffle. Here is an explanation of the additional elements of the Irish Lotto:

Lotto Plus 1

The Lotto Plus 1 is a draw of six balls and a bonus ball that is drawn after the main draw. You can enter your numbers into the Lotto Plus 1 draw for a small additional fee. The jackpot is fixed at €1,000,000.

Lotto Plus 2

The Lotto Plus 2 works in the same way as the Lotto Plus 1 and is drawn after the Lotto Plus 1 draw. Again, you can use your main Lotto selection to enter the Lotto Plus 2 for an additional fee. The jackpot here is fixed at €250,000.

Lotto Plus Raffle

You are entered into the Lotto Plus Raffle automatically if you enter the Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2 draws. You will be given a four-digit code as your raffle number. If your code is drawn after the main Irish Lotto draws, then you win €500!


Now you know everything about placing an Irish Lotto Bet. Remember, as you are betting on the outcome of the Irish Lotto and not buying an Irish Lotto ticket, you can – via an online lottery site – play the Irish Lotto anywhere in the world!

If you bet on the Irish Lotto, remember to check those Irish Lotto bet results! Bet on the Irish Lotto to give yourself the chance of becoming an Irish Lotto millionaire!