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Explainer: How will the National Lottery's 'must be won' €19m draw work this Saturday?

The current Lotto jackpot has been rolling since Wednesday 9 June 2021.

Image: Mark Stedman via RollingNews.ie

THE NATIONAL LOTTERY has cleared the way for a must win draw this Saturday to finally end the seven month rollover. 

The current Lotto jackpot has been rolling since Wednesday 9 June 2021 and has remained capped at €19.06 million since Saturday 2 October.

Due to the unprecedented nature of the current Lotto jackpot rollover, the National Lottery sought regulatory approval to introduce a “will be won” draw.

It confirmed last night that the “will be won” draw will take place this Saturday.

So, how exactly will it all work this weekend? Let’s take a look…

Firstly, why is was the jackpot capped at €19.06 million?

The jackpot prize was capped at €19.06 million on Saturday 2 October. 

Under Lotto rules, the jackpot is capped once it exceeds the previous record – which was €18.96 million in 2008.

The cap ensures that prize monies that ordinarily go towards growing the jackpot are instead used to increase the next highest prize won.

Due to the cap, the additional funds which would usually be added to the jackpot have flowed down to the next prize tier at which there is a winner. 

This has happened in each of the draws since the cap came into effect in October. 

How will the prize allocation work for the “will be won” draw on Saturday?

If the Lotto jackpot is won outright this Saturday, where a player, or players, matches all six numbers in the draw, they will become Ireland’s largest ever Lotto jackpot winner. 

They will claim the €19.06 million jackpot prize. 

But what if there is no outright winner? What happens then? 

If the “will be won” Lotto jackpot isn’t won outright, the full value of the jackpot prize will flow down to the winner, or winners, of the next winning prize tier.

For example, if there are no players who match six numbers in the draw, but there are winners at the Match 5 + Bonus prize tier, they will win the €19.06 million jackpot, as well as the additional funds that would usually go to the jackpot. 

The National Lottery’s Fran Whearty told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that this Saturday’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. 

“So the prize fund will be in excess of €19.06 million. We estimate that it will be between €21 to €22 million,” he said. 

“If it’s not won, it will go down to the next winning prize tier.” 

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Why is the “must be won” draw happening this Saturday?

As noted above, the current Lotto jackpot rollover is unprecedented in the history of the game and has resulted in there being no Lotto jackpot winner in the game since 5 June 2021. 

The National Lottery has come in for criticism in recent months over the length of time the jackpot prize has not been won. 

As a result, the operators of the National Lottery in December sought regulatory approval for a “must be won” draw to bring the current rollover to a close. 

A spokesperson for the National Lottery said yesterday: “Over the past number of months, we have worked with our technical suppliers and an independent review team to introduce this ‘will be won’ draw to the game. 

“Following regulatory approval, we are delighted to be in a position to confirm that there will be a guaranteed ‘will be won’ Lotto jackpot on Saturday 15 January. 

“This promises to be the biggest and most exciting night for Lotto players in Ireland in the history of our game.” 

Do these game changes mean that we will not see a Lotto jackpot roll for as long in the future? 

Under the new Lotto game rules, the Lotto jackpot will remain capped for a maximum of five draws and if there if no outright jackpot winner on the fifth draw at cap, the entire jackpot fund flows down to the next winning prize tier. 

In the future, should the Lotto exceed the current jackpot cap of €19.06 million in any given draw, that amount will become the new Lotto jackpot cap. 

Any excess which would usually be added to the jackpot would flow down to the next prize tier at which there is a winner. 

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