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TD namechecks Ronan Collins, Shergar and Squid Game in plea to drop two balls from Lotto draw

Bernard Durkan wants punters to have a better chance of winning after months without a jackpot victory.

Image: Shutterstock

FINE GAEL TD Bernard Durkan has called on the National Lottery to remove two balls from the Lotto draw drum to increase the likelihood of someone winning the jackpot, declaring: “This never happened in Ronan Collins’ day”. 

It has been almost six months since the Lotto jackpot was last won. The top prize is now capped at €19 million.

Durkan, from Kildare, sent a press release on the matter to news outlets across the country this morning. 

Premier Lotteries Ireland DAC (PLI) is the operator of the Irish National Lottery after receiving a 20-year licence in November 2014. The National Lottery began in Ireland in 1986 with scratch cards on offering. The Lotto, which we know now, with six winning numbers needed from 36 balls to secure the jackpot, began in 1988. 

The number of balls has increased to 47 over the last 33 years.

“I call on the Chief Executive of Premier Lotteries Ireland, Andrew Algeo, to drop a couple of balls as a mark of good faith and make the draw more winnable,” Durkan said in his press release, which was distributed by Fine Gael HQ. 

Paraphrasing Ronald Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech, he added: 

“Mr Algeo, tear down those balls.”

The TD signed off: “Currently ahead of tomorrow night’s lotto draw, the prospect of winning is so remote that punters must be thinking Shergar would have a better chance at winning Squid Game.”

Speaking to The Journal, Eamonn Toland of TheMathsTutor.ie explained that if you were to remove two balls from the 47-ball drum, then the odds of winning the top prize would improve by over 20%.

“Durkan is right when he says reducing the numbers gives you better odds. If you were to take five balls out you’re dropping the odds by 50%,” Toland said.

“There is certainly no guarantee that you are going to win unless you go out and do every single combination of the numbers. 

“Even if you drop the odds, there is still no guarantee that someone will win.”

Toland joked: “It appears probability is on trial and has been found wanting.”

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There are, obviously, various practical and legal barriers that prevent the National Lottery from removing balls from the draw.  

Their spokesperson said in an official response that the 23-week rollover is unprecedented and that since 2015, 80% of Lotto jackpots have been won within seven weeks. 

The odds of winning the Lotto jackpot have not been altered during this time, they added. 

“The current jackpot of €19 million and rollover of 23 weeks is unprecedented and has generated a huge amount of excitement across the country.

“Since the jackpot reached the €19 million jackpot cap, 179 players throughout the country who won the Match 5 or Match 5 + Bonus prize have shared in approximately €12.69 million in additional prize money due to the jackpot prize roll down.

“All of this excitement is generating strong returns for Good Causes, which is what the National Lottery is all about. The current jackpot rollover sequence alone has now raised in excess of €50 million for the Good Causes beneficiaries.”

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