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The winner takes it all: Lotto jackpot prize will be scooped tonight in 'must be won' draw

Tonight’s draw guarantees that the jackpot will see its first winner since June.

THE NATIONAL LOTTERY will hold its “must be won” draw this evening, guaranteeing one or more contestants will take home the jackpot prize after a seven-month rollover.

Tonight’s draw was confirmed by the National Lottery on Wednesday night following months of controversy over the length of time since the jackpot had last been won.

The prize was capped at €19.06 million in October having not been won since June.

According to the Lottery, if the jackpot is not won outright tonight, the value of the prize will flow down to the winner or winners of the next winning prize tier, meaning they will win the €19.06 million jackpot.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this week, Fran Whearty of the National Lottery said that tonight’s draw “will see at least one person win the €19.06 million and, indeed, the flow down in prizes that will come from sales from Saturday’s game”.

“If somebody does match six numbers … they will win the €19.06 million, but because the jackpot is capped the flow down of prizes will actually go down again to the lower prize tiers where there is winners,” Whearty explained, adding that the total prize funds will be “in excess of €19.06 million”.

“We estimate that it will be between €21 to €22 million,” he said. 

Tonight’s draw also marks a change in the rules of the Lotto games which aim to prevent the occurrence of long jackpot roll-overs in the future. 

Under the updated rules, in future the jackpot prize will remain capped for a maximum of five draws. If there is no outright jackpot winner on the fifth draw, the entire jackpot fund flows down to the next winning prize tier.

Since the implementation of the most recent cap in October, Lotto winners at lower prize tiers have received additional money on top of their winnings.

The organisation sought regulatory approval for a “must be won draw” in December, which they received earlier this week.

In the same month, the operator of the National Lottery, Premier Lotteries Ireland, and the Regulator of the National Lottery appeared in front of the Oireachtas finance committee in relation to the length of the rollover.

In the meeting, CEO of Premier Lotteries Ireland, Andrew Algeo, assured members that Lotto draws are “operating according to game rules with nothing amiss”.

The length of the current rollover can be credited to the fact that no contestant matched all six winning numbers since June, but also that two extra balls were added to the draw six years ago.

The Journal did the maths on the odds back in November, reporting that due to increases in the number of balls placed in the Lotto bin since 1994, the chances of winning the Lotto now stand at one in eleven million.

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