New National Lottery rules explained as winners wait weeks for prize money

Lottery ticket on a table
London, England - January 26, 2016: Old Lottery Ticket found down back of Sofa, The National Lottery is operated by Camelot Group since the first draw in November 1994. -Credit:Getty Images

New National Lottery have been brought in which means some winners are having to wait for payouts. People who have seen their numbers come up have faced a struggle to get their hands on their prize money after the changes were brought in.

It comes after the National Lottery was taken over by Allwyn, a multi-national lottery operator, from Camelot in February of this year. Following the takeover, changes have been made to the way winners are able to collect their winnings as the Post Office are no longer handing out large rewards as was the case before.

This means that many have been left waiting weeks for their money to come through.

The new rules stipulate that winners of between £500 and £50,000 on Lottery games must follow the online process to receive their money, providing their name, address, contact details and email - as well as a Prize Claim Form - within 180 days of their win. They must also send their physical ticket into the office.

READ: Cabbie who won on National Lottery six weeks ago 'yet to receive a penny' Ray Laird, 69, won £800 after buying a ticket at a One Stop on March 2

READ: JCB worker Hannah, 20, given 15 months to live raises £250k for treatment in U.S. Hannah Roberts was diagnosed with brain cancer just months after joining the company in September 2022

But this has led to huge delays for some winners, who previously would have been able to pick up their money within hours or days of their win, reports the Mirror.

Sergei Cofie-Squire won £1,500 with a ticket he purchased from WHSmith on March 19 but is still waiting to receive his money. The 61-year-old has planned to spend his winnings on a holiday to Dubai but has expressed his frustration that despite sending in his ticket weeks ago, he still hasn't seen a penny.

Speaking to the Echo, he said: "I have been in touch many times because I won on March 19. I have followed all the procedures and I'm still waiting. I've rang numerous times. Half the time I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. I could understand a seven day delay, but not four weeks, which is unacceptable.

Picture of someone's hands filling out a Lottery Ticker with a pen.
Close up of man filling in Lotto lottery slip. (Photo by: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) -Credit:Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

"I'm a very regular Lottery player. You've got to be in it to win it. On March 19 I won the £1,500, so I went to the Post Office to try and collect my cheque, but I was told a new company had taken over. They give you a website you go to and put in all the details required, which is a photo of the winning ticket, front and back, and they then send you a QR code. Then you have to go to the Post Office with that code, and post the original ticket to them (Allwyn)."

Despite having evidence that his ticket was received by the National Lottery management on April 4, Sergei is desperate to receive his prize but has been informed that the delays are due to 'inherited problems' within the new company. He expressed his frustration: "Why do I have to wait so long to collect my winnings? I'm told it's a teething problem, but I say they should have thought of that before switching over. It's beginning to feel like a joke. All the processes I have gone through, and I've heard nothing from them.

"They have to see my point. I played the Lottery and paid my money and have won fairly, and have verified my ticket. But up to now I have been dragged from pillar to post. If there is a problem they should make an official announcement so people don't get frustrated."

However, Sergei isn't the only one still awaiting their Lottery winnings. Ray Laird, a taxi driver, won £800 after purchasing a ticket from a local corner shop on March 2.

The 69-year-old, who admits he 'can't do the online stuff', had his daughter submit his details and send in his winning ticket on his behalf, following the new rules.

Speaking to the Echo, he said: "She did everything they asked and sent the tickets off. It was £800 I won. I phoned last week to enquire when I'm getting this money. Someone on the phone said to me 'well if you played online you wouldn't have this trouble' I thought this is disgusting. I have bought tickets from 1994 why should I change now? ".

The frustrated cabbie, who plans to use the money towards his mortgage while struggling with bills, was told over the phone that he would receive his cheque the following Friday or the Monday after at the latest. However, his money never arrived and on Thursday April 11, he called again but was kept on hold for over an hour.

He lamented: "£800 would have paid my mortgage this month. I'm a taxi driver, I'm struggling as it is. I'm 69 and still working so I can pay my mortgage. Times are tough at the moment, they are tough for everyone and I'm being crucified off the taxman for working and getting my pension, but I have to work. You can't win. Everyone is struggling so as soon as you get extra cash it is a relief of stress on your bills, we all need that relief."

Reflecting on a recent fare, he shared: "That woman had worked all her life in the hospital and now she is worrying about getting home, this is what we are living in today. Then today I'm paying for a job to get done on my car which is another expense. It's overly frustrating."

An Allwyn spokesperson commented: "This is a new claims process we've had to introduce following the Post Office's decision to no longer pay National Lottery retail prizes between £500.01 and £50,000. As a result of it being new, we've been experiencing higher volumes of players contacting us and some initial delays to players receiving their prizes.

"We've since increased the number of colleagues to assist with claims which is helping us send out prizes more quickly and are continuing to work to make improvements to the process. For example, we recently started a trial where anyone winning under £1,000 no longer needs to send in their winning ticket to us to help speed up the process. We're also reminding players that prizes of up to £500 can still be paid out in store."

Details of how to claim prize money from any of the National Lottery games can be found on the website.

Sign up to our main daily newsletter here and get all the latest news straight to your inbox for FREE