Lotto Jackpot Cap
The current Lotto jackpot cap is £22 million. As soon as the top prize reaches this amount, special rules come into force. The jackpot can roll over if nobody wins in the first draw when it is £22 million or higher, but the money must then be won in the following draw, whatever happens.
How often does the Lotto jackpot reach the cap?
The rate at which the Lotto jackpot grows is not always the same, but it usually takes around nine or ten rollovers to get past £22 million. In the first year after the cap was set at £22 million, there were four occasions when the top prize reached this cap and had to be won in the following draw.
How are prizes distributed?
Once the jackpot has to be won, the prizes will be distributed in the normal manner if anyone matches all six main numbers. Money raised from ticket sales still goes into the prize fund for the jackpot, so the winner(s) will receive significantly more than £22 million.
If nobody matches all six main numbers, the money still has to be won, so it rolls down to the next tier in which there are winners. For example, the first time the £22 million cap was hit and had to be won, on 14th September 2016, the three players who matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball won £8.1 million each. If nobody had matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball, the full amount would have been split between participants matching five main numbers.
|Numbers Matched||Do They Receive A Share of Jackpot Money?|
|6||Yes. The full prize will go to winners in this tier as normal.|
|5 + Bonus Ball||Players in this tier will share the jackpot money if there are no winners who match six numbers.|
|5||If nobody matches six numbers, or five plus the Bonus Ball, winners in this tier will share the jackpot money.|
History of Lotto Jackpot Cap
Lotto historically had a limit of four rollovers rather than a jackpot cap; the jackpot could only roll over four times and then had to be won in the fifth draw. When a series of changes were made to the game in October 2015, the rollover limit was scrapped and replaced by a moveable jackpot cap.
The jackpot cap was initially set at £50 million, and on Saturday 9th January 2016 two players split a record-breaking top prize of over £66 million. The jackpot cap was revised to £22 million later in the year, and first passed this mark in September 2016.
A single ticket holder matched all six main numbers to pocket £26.1 million the next time the jackpot cap was hit on Wednesday 19th October 2016. The largest prize to have been given away under the current cap occurred on Saturday 31st December 2016, when one player scooped £26.4 million just by matching five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball.
The jackpot had to be won again on Wednesday 24th May 2017 after going past its £22 million cap, and two players pocketed £12.7 million each just for matching five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball. There were even more lucky winners in the Match 5 + Bonus Ball tier on Wednesday 18th October 2017, as five ticket holders split £25 million after nobody matched all six main numbers.
When the jackpot had to be won on Wednesday 27th December 2017, nobody matched all six main numbers and just one player matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball. They walked away with a gargantuan £24.5 million, becoming the biggest Lotto winner of the year and one of the biggest in history.