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The Lottery Tickets That Can't Win

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The Lottery tickets that can't win

National Lottery operator Camelot is selling online tickets to Britons on holiday who could find any jackpot win would be refused. Alan O'Sullivan investigates...

Do you read the terms and conditions on your various online accounts? If you don't, it may usually cost you some of your hard-earned cash. In the case of the National Lottery, it could end up costing you millions.

The conditions attached to an online account with Camelot - which clock in at 40,000 words, the length of a short novel - state that a ticket bought online in the United States or 'any other jurisdiction in which it is unlawful to play the Games (sic)' means you will not receive a prize if your ticket turns out to be a lucky one.

And that means while the National Lottery will gladly take your money for playing from an overseas computer, if you win £1m you may never see it.

Some countries' laws prohibit tourists from playing their home country's lottery online while on holiday, including the US and UK tourist favourite Spain, but Camelot will nonetheless accept bets placed from these countries.

Tickets, however, won't be valid and, should your lucky numbers pop up in either the UK National Lottery, or even the Euromillions draw, you won't be able to claim your windfall.

The revelation comes as the National Lottery announced its best sales performance for over a decade in May, totalling £5.1bn.

When quizzed on the subject, Camelot was unable to provide any information on which countries ban playing overseas lotteries. A spokeswoman said this is a matter for individual customers to investigate.

Camelot at the moment has taken no steps to prevent UK citizens buying online Lottery tickets in such countries.

In its defence, the company says it sends out e-mails to its online users several times a year explaining the situation: customers should assume any tickets bought online while abroad are invalid due to individual national laws and they should buy their tickets before they leave.

One simple measure would be to bar computers with relevant overseas Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from playing National Lottery games, in much the same way the BBC stops overseas users watching free programmes on its iPlayer internet TV service.

But the Lottery operator argues some international companies in the UK use the foreign ISPs of their head offices abroad – and it would be preventing these people from playing while at work if it banned payments from some foreign countries.

A spokeswoman for Camelot said: 'It is not unlawful to play the UK National Lottery in all countries – and we would not wish to blanket block legitimate players from the UK or in countries where it is legal to play.'

Michael Philips from Broadbandchoices.co.uk disagrees and says the vast majority of international companies based here will use a UK ISP. He added any company can also block people from using their website in a particular foreign country and they do not have to blanket ban all international log-ins.

He said: 'It's a way of handling license implications. There is no reason why a company can't block users from accessing their site from an individual foreign country.'

The spokeswoman denied Camelot has been profiting from UK customers who place their weekly bets from abroad.

However, not all of them agree...

Spanish holiday cost me £5,000 in winnings

Malaga, on the Costa Del Sol

Pain in Spain: Buy a National Lottery ticket online from Spain and it is invalid

Chris Jones, 52, of Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, bought his weekly Euromillions lottery tickets while visiting his son in Majorca earlier this month. He was then congratulated by e-mail over winning £5,148 and was asked to phone Camelot.

The company changed its tune, however, when he remarked over the telephone that he was calling from his mobile in Spain and would have to be brief. They simply said he was in breach of the terms and conditions on his account and they would call him to explain further.

It is illegal for a UK national to buy a Euromillions lottery ticket through the UK website while in Spain, under Spanish law (despite the Euopean-wide nature of the lottery). Each country has a separate operator under the European lottery draw.

While trying to settle the matter, Mr Jones purchased more Euromillions tickets in Spain the following week, and won £96: strangely, this was paid automatically into his account without question.

But Camelot refused to hand over his £5,000 winnings, as it argued he should have known Spanish law bars foreigners from partaking in foreign lottery draws while holidaying in the country.

Mr Jones said: 'I use the website every week and didn't see any warning e-mails. I wasn't trying to be underhand, otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned I was in Spain. I would have done better if I had kept my mouth shut.

'What annoys me is that they still accepted my money and all the bets I've placed while abroad over the years. If they refunded me all those bets, the amount would be well over £5,000.'

Camelot offered to refund the cost of Mr Jones' winning ticket, which he declined.

Money for tickets bought illegitimately from a foreign country is put into a Camelot suspense account for 80 days before being donated to charitable projects.

Everything is a bloody scam here!

Edited by cashinmattress

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The Lottery tickets that can't win

Everything is a bloody scam here!

Chances of winning the jackpot ... about 14m to one.... chances of winning the jackpot the week you are in holiday ??????... chances this will cause any serious difficulty for Camelot 0... chances of anyone who plays the jackpot regularly , accepts the very very long odds and gladly pays the extra tax to the govt will change their betting patterns as a result of this news 0....... personally I am grateful to all those who play the lottery, smoke , drive very thirsty cars etc etc... I pay much less tax as a result of their endeavours.

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They haven't any choice. If you place a bet in America it's illegal. Simple as. I've had to write a lot of software to help prevent bets being taken from the US with operators in the UK and other jurisdictions.

This is a non-story.

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They haven't any choice. If you place a bet in America it's illegal. Simple as. I've had to write a lot of software to help prevent bets being taken from the US with operators in the UK and other jurisdictions.

This is a non-story.

Pity someone didn't write software to block people buying tickets using IP addresses from abroad.

Oh... but that would remove a lot of losing tickets from the pool wouldn't it?

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Chances of winning the jackpot ... about 14m to one.... chances of winning the jackpot the week you are in holiday ??????... chances this will cause any serious difficulty for Camelot 0... chances of anyone who plays the jackpot regularly , accepts the very very long odds and gladly pays the extra tax to the govt will change their betting patterns as a result of this news 0....... personally I am grateful to all those who play the lottery, smoke , drive very thirsty cars etc etc... I pay much less tax as a result of their endeavours.

Actually, Camelot regularly promote / advertise about those who have returned from holidays to discover that they have won lottery. I believe, although could be wrong, that they wait a tad longer in Summer before telling the Press thsat a jackpot is unclaimed because they are aware so many people are away on holiday.

So, whilst it seems that you cannot win the lotto if you buy a ticket whilst on holiday there have been indeed many who have bought their tickets prior to going on hols to return from their hols to discover they have won.

Odd about Spain - I can buy tickets online for the Spanish lotteries, Spain is part of Camelot's Euromillions but if I go to Spain, buy a Euromillions ticket online and win then I do not win? What happens if I buy the Euromillions ticket in Madrid?

So

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I play the lottery by direct debit, same numbers every draw. Wished now I hadn't but at £2 a week, I'll keep it up.

Anyway, if I'm out of the country when the draw is made, have I 'technically' played the lottery from outside the U.K?

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They haven't any choice. If you place a bet in America it's illegal. Simple as. I've had to write a lot of software to help prevent bets being taken from the US with operators in the UK and other jurisdictions.

This is a non-story.

Indeed. There's been a message on their website for several weeks advising people of this very issue. As an aside - including my five winning numbers I'm only 50% down.

I love the lottery: when Margaret Thatcher came to power we were all going to be millionaires by playing the stock exchange, by the fag-end of this philosophy John Major had us all playing a raffle!

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I play the lottery by direct debit, same numbers every draw. Wished now I hadn't but at £2 a week, I'll keep it up.

Anyway, if I'm out of the country when the draw is made, have I 'technically' played the lottery from outside the U.K?

No it's only if you place the order whilst abroad.

To be honest, when I renewed my online ticket a few weeks ago, they were very clear about this. I certainly don't remember having to read through 40,000 words.

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The Lottery tickets that can't win

Everything is a bloody scam here!

In fairness they do post warnings all over their site about buying your tickets in the UK before you go on holiday... nothing covert going on here - just require you to read the mile-high warning notice at online point of sale.

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