A study by Lottery Monitor found that 369 councils had made at least one successful application, with City of Glasgow Council (23 applications), Birmingham City (21), South Lanarkshire (21), Wolverhampton MBC (19) and Belfast City (19) leading the way.
Legislation prevents council projects receiving 100% funding and on average councils had to provide 52% of the cost in match funding.
Although council officers involved in grant applications complained about the workload involved in for applications and match funding, the researchers emphasised the new importance of lottery funding as a source of revenue.
The research found that councils were lead partners in 1,813 of the 50,000 awards made between 1994 and 1999.
It reveals significant differences in the level of match funding they had to stump up or organise. For example, the four council-led projects in North West Leicestershire DC to receive lottery funding had to find 97% of the money, compared with an average of 39% for the 15 Manchester City projects.
Council officers involved in applications approached by Lottery Monitor viewed the process and potential benefits with varying levels of enthusiasm. Peter Coleman, head of North East Lincolnshire DC's lottery unit, reported 'horrendous problems' finding matching funds.
'It is very hard for local authorities to find other resources. A joined-up system of funding bodies - the single regeneration budget, European funding, the lottery - would make the whole process simpler.'
Oxfordshire CC lottery manager Nancy Hood said: 'The lottery has allowed one big project of ours at the moment to go ahead. Our capital fund was so stressed that in a way it's the lottery money that has made up its shortfall rather than the other way round.'
She welcomed streamlined application packs for small awards. The full survey will be published by Lottery Monitor in July.
The big lottery winners
Council No of awards Awards value Project cost Council provision (%)
Glasgow City23 23.4m 46.3m 49%
Birmingham City21 7.9m 13.3m 41%
South Lanarkshire 21 6.9m 18.1m 62%
Wolverhampton MBC19 12.5m 22.9m 45%
Belfast City19 7.4m 16.3m 54%
Mansfield DC18 4.8m 10.8m 55%
Dumfries & Galloway 18 2.7m 8.9m 69%