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lotto questions

Lotto operators seek approval for ‘must-be-won' draw for jackpot prize

Representatives for the National Lottery will appear before the Oireachtas finance committee tomorrow.

THE OPERATORS OF the National Lottery are seeking regulatory approval for a “must be won” draw following controversy over the length of time the jackpot prize has not been won.

Representatives for the National Lottery will appear before the Oireachtas finance committee tomorrow to face questions regarding the unclaimed jackpot prize, which has not been won since early June.

The top prize has been capped at €19.06 million since early October.

In an opening statement to the committee, CEO of Premier Lotteries Ireland Andrew Algeo says a must-be-won draw “would ensure that such an improbably long wait for a capped jackpot win cannot occur again”.

“That would also allow us to provide certainty to Lotto players, as to the latest date on which this record €19 million jackpot will be won by,” he says

Algeo will tell those on the committee that it is “highly unusual” that the Lotto jackpot still has no winner.

“Given the tickets purchased since early June, the chances are akin to rolling a die 37 times without the number “6” arising,” he says.

Then again it was somewhat unusual that we had Lotto jackpot winners on three consecutive Saturdays just before this long roll. Variation in jackpot roll lengths occur because each lottery draw is a pure game of chance without memory.

He says it is in his company’s best interest, and those “of all stakeholders of the National Lottery including our customers”, that the Lotto jackpot is seen as “both aspirational and possible”.

Regulator of the National Lottery Carol Boate will assure the committee that the Lotto “is operating in line with the game rules and there are no regulatory issues”.

In her opening statement, Boate says independent observers from KPMG attend every Lotto draw “to ensure that the strict protocols in place are followed to the letter”.

“The current extended period without a jackpot win is unusual in the history of the game, but it is not unusual in the history of lotteries,” she says.

“Statistically unlikely events are part of the nature of games of chance and lotteries. It was also statistically unlikely that the Lotto jackpot would be won three Saturdays in a row and yet this happened at the end of May and over the June bank holiday weekend earlier this year, when players won jackpots totalling €11,434,339 in three consecutive Saturday draws.”

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.

Boate says this flowdown of prize money has been operating correctly.

She says since the jackpot was capped, 215 players have won much larger amounts than would ordinarily be available for matching five numbers or five numbers plus the bonus ball.

“27 of these players won (Match 5 + Bonus Ball) prizes ranging from €237,394 up to €1,262,603. The remaining 188 won Match 5 prizes ranging from €22,872 to €35,234,” she says.

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