Department for Culture Media and Sport

national lottery

The proceeds of the National Lottery support the arts, heritage, sport, charities and community and voluntary groups as well as supporting projects concerned with health, education and the environment.

Our role

We are responsible for pan-National Lottery policy, including Lottery legislation and setting the policy and financial framework within which the distributing bodies for National Lottery grants operate.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issues policy and financial directions to the English and UK wide Lottery distributing bodies, apart from the Big Lottery Fund. The Minister for the Cabinet Office issues policy directions to the Big Lottery Fund.

The Lottery distributing bodies in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have their policy directions issued to them by the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Government, and the Northern Ireland Assembly respectively.

We also sponsor the National Lottery Commission, which regulates the National Lottery game and the game operator.

National lottery funding

We do not give out Lottery money. It is distributed by 13 independent National Lottery distributing bodies. To apply for a Lottery grant visit the Lottery Good Causes website or telephone the Lottery Funding Hotline on 0845 275 0000 to get advice on which distribution body to contact.

You can access details of Lottery grants awarded to arts, sport, heritage, health, education and the environment projects using the National Lottery Grants Search Database. Details of the Lottery grants given to support the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games can be found on the Olympic Lottery Distributor page.

Information about what types of organisations have benefited from Lottery funding, and about the work of the National Lottery Promotions Unit, is available through the National Lottery Good Causes website.

The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK's favourite Lottery-funded projects. The Awards recognise the incredible difference that Lottery-funded projects - both large and small - make to people, places and communities all across the UK.

Facts and figures

  • The first national lottery in Britain took place in 1569.
  • The first ever National Lottery draw took place on Saturday 19 November 1994.
  • Total ticket sales are over £92 billion to November 2012.
  • Over £29 billion has been raised by the Lottery for the good causes and over 400,000 grants have been made to projects by February 2013.
  • 71% of all Lottery grants have been for small amounts - £10,000 or less – bringing the benefits to communities far and wide.
  • Every public library in the United Kingdom has been able to go online thanks to National Lottery funding.
  • Lottery funding has enabled over 42,000 World War II veterans to revist sites around the world where they served during the war.


If you have a question about the National Lottery, please email: