Up until recently, playing the UK lottery from abroad was a relatively simple affair, just connect from any location you have access to the internet, login and buy your ticket. Easy, right?
Well, not so fast, even though you could login and buy tickets outside the UK, if you won a prize you wouldn't receive it. You see, playing the UK Lottery when outside the UK is against the terms and conditions, so even though you could buy tickets, when it came to collecting your winnings, you would be out of luck.
The evidence of this was felt by player Chris Jones, who back in 2009 purchased his UK Lottery tickets online while on holiday in Spain, after receiving an email stating he had won £5,148 and was required to call regarding the winning, he mentioned that he would be calling from Spain. Upon hearing this information, Camelot the operator of the UK Lottery refused to pay out.
Due to this incident pressure was put on Camelot to restrict access to those outside the UK, after all, if they don't want to pay out winnings then they shouldn't be accepting payment for tickets too, right?
It is still possible to buy tickets outside the UK but before we proceed, please read this very important warning…
Right, so now that you're aware that you could potentially be forfeiting millions of pounds in winnings if they decide you've broken their Terms & Conditions, we'll continue at your own risk.
The National Lottery website understands your location based on your internet connection, each internet connection is assigned an IP address and from this your location can be understood, not to an exact pinpoint but at the very least to an area within a country. With this information they deny you access to logging in to your online account.
So to bypass this geo-restriction a service called a VPN or Virtual Private Network is required, these are services that ensure your safety and privacy online by encrypting your online usage and also masking your location. In the case of the National Lottery you want to mask your current location and appear as if you're in the UK, this is very easily achieved.
There are certain big VPN providers who Camelot are obviously aware of and when using their service the website knows you're using a VPN and also blocks access, so for this very purpose there are specific providers who are somewhat smaller or lesser known that will allow you to play the UK lottery from abroad.
Best 3 VPN providers for playing the UK Lottery abroad
Providers vary in price but shouldn't be more than about £3-5 per month so if you're away for only a week or two then a 1 month service will be ideal, however if you're living abroad or intending to be away even longer then taking a longer service length will save you money in the long run.
Once you've signed up, you're provided with easy to use software, download this and connect to a UK server, you may need to try one or two different UK servers.
Once you've connected to a UK server, all you have to do is visit the National Lottery website and login as usual. Rather than being blocked you'll be allowed full access and be able to purchase tickets as normal. In theory as you appear as if you're in the UK and there is no real way for them to discover you're not in the UK you should be fine, however do understand that this is done at your own risk, as if you won the jackpot and couldn't claim it then you understand the risks beforehand.
However, a VPN service is a legal way of protecting your privacy and anonymity online so in reality there is no guaranteed way a provider such as the National Lottery could prove you were outside the UK, but again, if a huge prize is at stake then you may want to think carefully.
That's all there is to it, nothing more and nothing less, if you wish to play the UK lottery outside the UK then you can now without issue. If you want to see this in action check out our video below in which I use the simple Windows software from VPN.ac to connect to a UK server.
Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net