herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Extra numbers added to Lotto has seen 30pc drop in jackpot wins

Models promoting the Lotto, which now has a bigger jackpot
Models promoting the Lotto, which now has a bigger jackpot

The number of Lotto winners has dropped by almost a third since controversial changes to the game were made.

The National Lottery main game draw jackpot is now won just once a month, following changes introduced to the gambling game last year.

Two extra numbers were added to the game in 2015, decreasing chances of scooping the jackpot prize.

However, the National Lottery has defended the changes, saying the fewer winners do get bigger prizes.

Statistics released to the Herald show the number of winners over a set period decreased by more than 30pc.

Operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) introduced a 50c per line price hike - and 47 numbers instead of 45 - last September.

It means an 8m-to-one chance of scooping the jackpot has increased to 10.7m-to-one.

"In the eight months before the changes, January to August 2015, the Lotto jackpot was won 11 times," said PLI.

"In the corresponding period this year, January to August 2016, the jackpot was won seven times."

"The 2016 jackpot wins amounted to a total of €55,142,686 in prize money, compared with €50,396,690 for the 2015 jackpots over the same eight-month period," the PLI spokeswoman said.

"The average jackpot since the game change is €6.4m, which is 33pc higher than winners before the game changes.

"The new games and increased jackpot rollovers have generated huge player interest.

Causes

"Since making the changes to the flagship Lotto game in September 2015, National Lottery sales are up by more than 10pc, allowing the National Lottery to raise invaluable funds for good causes," she added.

She said Lotto game changes were designed to make it more exciting for players, offering bigger and more attractive jackpots, with more rollovers and record prizes.

"PLI is delighted to see the game changes delivering the prizes, winners and funds for good causes as designed," she added.

The changes have also meant that you have a one-in-28 chance of winning some sort of prize, compared to a one-in-42 chance under the previous system.

Average prizes for matching five numbers and the bonus number have also increased from €25,000 to €100,000.

Saturday evening's draw followed a number of rollovers but once again the top prize of €10,050,786 was not won.

Wednesday's jackpot is now expected to be well over €11m. The number of winners of non-jackpot prizes has risen in the same period.

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