Here are a few mind-boggling statistics. Since The National Lottery launched, more than £25.7bn has been paid out in winnings. On average, over four million people a week win prizes on draw-based tickets and scratchcards on sale at over 26,000 shops and outlets nationwide. Over 1,800 millionaires have been created since its launch, with a massive £17bn raised for Good Causes. One in four jackpots is won by a syndicate, a great way to increase your chances and share the winnings with friends, family or workmates.
The basic principle, and cost, of playing the main game Lotto, is the same now as it was 11 years ago. And with 97 per cent of the UK population living or working within two miles of a lottery terminal - found in supermarkets, corner shops, off-licences and petrol stations - the chance to become a millionaire is only a short walk away.
The wave of advancements in technology has brought along new convenience and there are a range of alternative methods to make sure that you never have to miss a draw, no matter how busy your lifestyle.
If playing online suits you best, then that's no problem. Entry into a range of National Lottery draws is just a mouse-click away. Just visit the user-friendly website to register, select which game you want to play and then fill in the relevant online play slip - the games to choose from include Lotto, EuroMillions, Thunderball and Daily Play. There is also a range of Instant Win Games available to play, featuring interactive versions of scratchcards. Once registered, if you win a prize, you'll receive an email to let you know, while smaller prizes will be paid directly into your online National Lottery account. If you want to play in a group, the Syndicate Manager Tool is an easy-to-download piece of software that offers help and advice on running your syndicate. Among its functions, it will automatically check your numbers, and keep track of winnings and payments.
You can now play a range of National Lottery draw-based games by text message. Simply fire off a text with instructions of the draw you wish to enter and whether you're playing a Lucky Dip or choosing your own numbers. Keep an eye out for incoming text messages - The National Lottery automatically checks numbers and alerts all winners. You'll also need to register your details (minimum age 16, UK or Isle of Man resident and must have a valid UK debit card) online at www.national-lottery.co.uk. Check the website for simple to follow step-by-step instructions.
To play through Sky Active, press the interactive button on the TV handset and navigate towards Sky Active and Lotto. Register your details (as above), choose a username and password then simply use the handset and screen to choose your lucky numbers and the weeks you want to play. There's the capability to buy up to eight weeks' worth of tickets at a time on most draw-based games (up to four weeks' worth on EuroMillions). As the saying goes, even the longest journey starts with a single step, so do yourself a favour, have faith that your quid will be going towards helping a good cause and maybe, just maybe, it'll bring you riches beyond your wildest dreams.
Here are four simple and very convenient methods of playing National Lottery games
Online: www.national-lottery.co.uk. Register and then click away to your hearts content - a range of games are at your fingertips
Text: open an online account and when you feel the urge, text 61111 with your lucky numbers
Sky TV: register a user name and choose a password using the remote- control handset and follow the instructions
Subscriptions: choose your game and numbers, then sit back and relax. Available online, by post or tel: 0845 912 5000
National Lottery Games are subject to Games Rules and Proceedures. You must be 16 years old or over to play or claim a prize.