Looking for a punt with a pint

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Pronto, a new lottery game for pubs, is already under threat of a Government ban - but how do your chances of winning compare with its more established rivals? Paul Slade plays the numbers game.

If you want to buy into the full dream, then the National Lottery remains the only game in town.

Only Dale Winton, Carol Smiley and their toothsome ilk can provide the multi-million pound sums you would need to quit your job, buy a Ferrari and catch the next first-class flight to Barbados. Your own chance of winning the jackpot - or even sharing one - may be astonishingly small, but that doesn't stop people dreaming.

The biggest prize on offer from Pronto for a pounds 1 stake is pounds 25,000, which comes your way if all the 10 computer-selected numbers on every Pronto ticket are among the 20 numbers drawn. On average, this will happen once for every pounds 2m you hand across the bar.

Lucky Choice, an offshoot of the Irish Lottery which you play in UK bookmakers, offers payouts of up to pounds 69,491 for a pounds 1 stake, although this depends on a complex combination of bets coming right. The maximum Lucky Choice payout on any stake is pounds 100,000.

All the games work on a slightly different basis, and both Pronto and Lucky Choice can be played in a number of different ways. This makes direct comparisons difficult. The one thing you can be sure of is that you will almost certainly lose more money than you win.

The fact that Pronto will be carrying out hundreds of draws every day, plus the fact that it is played where people are drinking, has prompted Home Office Minister George Howarth to suggest legislation banning the game could be in place as early as next summer.

Pronto

Method: The game is played in 2,000 pubs round the UK, where electronic terminals take your tickets and TV screens show the results of a new draw every five or 10 minutes. You can select two, three, four or five numbers from a field of 80. Twenty winning numbers are drawn. As with the National Lottery, the precise amount you win will depend on the total amount staked in that particular draw.

Operator: Inter Lotto

Percentage of take paid out in prizes: 55.4 per cent

Percentage of take donated to charity: 20 per cent

Estimated payouts on pounds 1 stake (assuming players select five-number game)

Correct Payout Odds

nos selected Against

One nil N/A

Two Nil N/A

Three pounds 1 12 to 1

Four pounds 15 83 to 1

Five pounds 300 1,550 to 1

Ten pounds 25,000 1.89m to 1

Source: Inter Lotto.

Computer-selected bonus numbers appear on every ticket.

Fascinating Fact: Inter Lotto chairman Lord Mancroft is also chairman of the Addiction Recovery Foundation (Who's Who 1997).

Lucky Choice

Method: A fixed-odds game, based on the Irish Lottery, which can be played in UK bookmakers. You can select up to six numbers from a field of 42. Six numbers, plus a bonus ball are drawn, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Results are shown in betting shops and on Channel 4 Teletext (p60l). The bookmakers do not buy Irish Lottery tickets on your behalf, but use the numbers drawn to determine who wins.

Operator: Major UK bookmakers.

Percentage of take paid out in prizes: The total percentage returned as prizes depends on how many players have placed winning bets in that particular draw, and will be different with every draw made.

Percentage of take donated to charity: Nil.

Payouts on pounds 1 stake, assuming players select numbers in a Canadian as part of the six number draw*.

Correct Payout Odds No

nos Against of bets

selected included

One nil n/a n/a

Two pounds 42 57 to 1 10 doubles

Three pounds 548 574 to 1 10 trebles

Four pounds 6,036 78,765 5 four-folds

to 1

Five pounds 69,491 141,778 1 five-fold

to 1

Source: Ladbrokes

* The six number draw offers higher payouts, but ignores the bonus ball. This means your Canadian includes 10 two-number combinations, each of which has a 57 to 1 chance of coming up.

Fascinating Fact: A Canadian (also known as a Super Yankee) is a combination of 26 bets, all based on the same five numbers. If all five numbers come up, you have 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five four-folds and one five-fold.

UK National Lottery

Method: The game is played live on BBC television twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with tickets available from outlets all over the UK. Players pick six numbers from a field of 49. Six winning numbers and a bonus ball are drawn.

Operator: Camelot.

Percentage of take paid out in prizes: 50.6 per cent

Percentage of take paid to charity: 28 per cent goes to the good causes.

Estimated payouts on pounds l stake, based on average National Lottery payouts so far.

Correct Payout Odds

nos selected against

One Nil N/A

Two Nil N/A

Three pounds 10 56 to 1

Four pounds 64 1,032 to 1

Five pounds 1,564 55,491 to 1

Five + bonus pounds 104,388 2.3m to one

Six pounds 1.85m 13.9m to 1

Source: Camelot

Fascinating Fact: Once the pounds 10 prizes are settled, 52 per cent of the remaining prize fund is devoted to jackpot winners.

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