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LOTO is the flagship game of the French Lottery, operated by Francaise des Jeux (FDJ) which literally translates to “The French Games”. It is one of the most frequent lotteries, with draws on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays every week at 8:30pm CET, and even more draws with the occasional Super LOTO game, which represents an addition to the usual schedule on a different night of the week.

Players can specify which upcoming draws they would like to enter, including designating the Super LOTO draw when one is due, as well as choosing several other options that boost prizes, place combination wagers of more than the usual five numbers plus one 'Chance' number, or buy into the supplementary JOKER+ game.

One standard entry into LOTO costs €2.20.

Got questions about the LOTO game? Check out the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.

Loto Number Generator

Number of Lines

How to Play

Following on from changes in 2008, players must choose five numbers from 1-49 and one Chance number from 1-10. To win the top jackpot, which pays out roughly once in every four draws, you'll need to match all five of your main numbers and the Chance number - at odds of 1 in 19 million - which is very good for a lottery with a secondary or supplementary pot.

Matching the Chance number alone will win you a refund of the standard €2.00 ticket price, and this can also be added to the payout for matching one, two, three, four or five main balls, which makes for some very slight differences between some of the prize levels, as shown in the table below. You can use Flash mode to have the system automatically and randomly choose your numbers for you, and you should also specify which day's draw you wish to enter. With three each week, LOTO is among the most frequent non-daily draws in the world.

Finally, for more information regarding the JOKER, check out the Supplementary Games area below.

Why to Play

With jackpot odds of 1 in 19 million, LOTO offers relatively good chances of landing a life-changing win, and is one of the only games by operator FDJ to pay out life-changing sums of money.

The fixed jackpot, which starts from €2 million and rises by €1 million in each rollover draw, also gives unique confidence in exactly how much the top prize will be in upcoming draws, regardless of how many people enter. The jackpot is usually won once in every four games or so, but in the unusual event that it rolls over 34 times, in the following draw it will be shared among all tickets that match the most balls, even if that is 5 main balls, 4 + Chance or a lower prize tier as listed in the table below.

Supplementary Games

LOTO players are able to take part in one supplementary game, the JOKER+, which assigns a random seven-digit number to each ticket for an extra €1 per line. This is compared against a seven-digit number generated by drawing balls from a pot, and prizes are allocated for matching the first or last digit, the first or last two digits, and so on up to an exact seven-digit match, with prize payouts from €1 up to €250,000.

The main supplementary game though is JOKER+ which assigns a random seven-digit number to each ticket for an extra €1 per line. This is compared against a seven-digit number generated by drawing balls from a pot, and prizes are allocated for matching the first or last digit, the first or last two digits, and so on up to an exact seven-digit match, with prize payouts from €1 up to €250,000. There is also an option to double your wager to €2 per line, with all prizes doubled as well.

Match Single Wager Prize Double Wager Prize
All 7 digits €250,000 €250,000
7 digits and ±1 €30,000 €60,000
First or last 6 digits €25,000 €50,000
First or last 6 digits and ±1 €3,000 €6,000
First or last 5 digits €2,500 €5,000
First or last 5 digits and ±1 €2,500 €5,000
First or last 4 digits €500 €1,000
First or last 4 digits and ±1 €60 €120
First or last 3 digits €50 €100
First or last 3 digits and ±1 €6 €12
First or last 2 digits €5 €10
First or last 2 digits and ±1 €1.5 €3
The first or last digit €1 €2
First or last digit and ±1 €1 €2

The “±1” option means that if the player’s numbers are one digit below or one digit above – still in order – the numbers that are drawn, they still win a prize.

For example, if a player’s numbers are 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and the numbers in the draw are 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, the player has matched the second tier of the prize table – seven digits and “±1” – because all numbers were matched other than the first number, which was one digit different. This digit can either be one above or one below, hence “±1”.

The prize amount won using this system will, as shown in the table above, differ depending on whether the player’s bet was a single wager or double wager.

Prizes and Odds of Winning

LOTO prizes range from a €2.00 fixed consolation prize for matching only the Chance number to a jackpot of a guaranteed minimum €2 million, plus an additional €1 million for each time it rolls over. It is unusual to see a jackpot with such a specific fixed value - in most lotteries, the top prize is calculated as a percentage of all stakes - and this gives LOTO a uniquely predictable top prize in upcoming draws.

The exact amount won in most cases will depend on how many times the jackpot has rolled over, as well as the number of people who win a particular level of prize payout.

It is worth noting that matching the Chance number along with two, three or four main balls does not boost the payout as such, but just adds the €2.00 reimbursement of the standard ticket price to your win.

With a 1 in 5.99 chance of winning any prize playing it, you might fancy your chances on LOTO. Although the jackpot requires you to match the Chance number, which is drawn from a secondary pot, the main draw only chooses five balls from 49, rather than the usual six seen in many similar national lotteries. This gives jackpot odds of only 1 in 19 million for an average payout of nearly €6 million.

With a standard ticket price of €1.00 plus any extra game options, combination tickets, supplementary games and lottery courier fees, LOTO is still one of the cheapest buy-ins for a good chance of a return.

Match Prize (% of Fund) Odds
5 + Chance 19.53% 1 in 19,068,840
5 5.06% 1 in 2,118,760
4 + Chance 10.89% 1 in 986,677
4 10.89% 1 in 39,631
3 + Chance 4.72% 1 in 12,016
3 4.72% 1 in 224
2 + Chance 33.72% 1 in 144
2 33.72% 1 in 16
1 + Chance 18.87% 1 in 28
Chance number only 18.87% 1 in 18

Payment Options

Payments are tax free, but the claim deadline is relatively short, at just 60 days after the last valid draw date on your ticket. This means if you have bought a ticket for multiple draws and win on the first attempt, your deadline to claim is not until 60 days after the last draw for which your ticket is entered.

For anyone playing via lottery courier service, this makes good sense to buy into more upcoming draws, as it potentially gives you longer if you need to travel in person to collect a jackpot win. Big wins can be claimed from FDJ offices with presentation of the valid ticket and personal ID documents.

History

The first LOTO draw took place in May 1976 and was inspired by the German model of the Nordwestlotto. At that time six main balls were drawn from 1-49, along with a seventh additional number from the same pot. These rules - which closely matched the original rules of the UK National Lottery - ran until 2008, when a secondary pot was introduced in the style of lotteries like EuroMillions.

Under these new rules, only five main balls are drawn from 1-49 along with a Chance number from a pot of 1-10. Prizes start from a ticket refund for matching just the Chance number, up to the jackpot for matching all five main balls and the Chance number as well.

LOTO's televised broadcasts have used a variety of well-known songs as their theme tune since the relaunch in 2008, including Michael Jackson's ‘Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough’, Kool & The Gang's ‘Celebration’, and Steppenwolf's ‘Born To Be Wild’.

Where to Play

LOTO and Super LOTO tickets are sold in stores throughout France, and smaller prizes can be claimed instantly in these locations too, with regional lottery offices available for larger prize claims.

FDJ also sell tickets online in France, while international players can join in via a lottery courier service by paying a representative to go out and buy a physical ticket for them from a participating French retailer. This requires several hours' warning before the sales for the relevant draw close at 8pm, and is an effective way to buy a ticket from abroad, and have it stored in a safe and secure place to be released to you if you need to claim a big win in person.

Where the Money Goes

French lottery operator FDJ (Francaise des Jeux) has a specific commitment to supporting the country's sporting community, including promoting participation by female and disabled competitors.

The company also operates sports betting and its financial partnerships include scholarships for young athletes, its own cycling team, sponsorships in football, handball and basketball, and contributions towards the refurbishment and construction of the stadia used in the UEFA Euro 2016 championship, the finals of which were held in France.

As of early 2017, FDJ had also announced a new instant-win scratchcard game to raise funds for the Paris candidacy bid to become the host city for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

FAQs

Why are the odds so good?

The structure of LOTO is comparable to Spain's La Primitiva, Germany's Lotto 6aus49 and the main EuroMillions draw, with a selection of main balls and a supplementary pot. But with just five balls chosen from 49 and the Chance number from 1-10, the jackpot is very likely to pay out - roughly once in every four draws.

How much will I win?

The top prize depends on the number of rollovers, as well as the number of other people who match all of the draw balls. Generally speaking, it falls into the life-changing but not massive range - several million euros is normal, which should be enough to keep most people in a comfortable lifestyle if managed well.

Are LOTO winnings taxed?

LOTO prizes are exempt from income tax under French law, although if you are playing from outside of the country via a lottery courier service, you should be aware of any local laws on lottery prize taxation in your own jurisdiction. In many cases, including the UK, there should normally be no need to pay local income tax on the prize either.

How do I claim from abroad?

If you bought your ticket via a lottery courier service, many smaller prizes can be claimed on your behalf. In some instances, you must present your ticket and ID in person to claim a larger prize, in which case your physical ticket will be released to you by your courier.

How long do I have to claim a prize?

If you win on the LOTO, you will have to claim your prize within 60 days of the draw date.

If you have a specific question in mind and don’t see it answered here, why not try Lotto Broker’s dedicated FAQs page?