Lotto Jackpot Cap
The Lotto jackpot is no longer capped at a specific value. Instead, the jackpot is allowed to roll over for a maximum of five consecutive draws. If it is not won by the fifth rollover, the following draw becomes a 'Must Be Won' draw, where the prize money is guaranteed to be given away.
How are prizes distributed?
Once the jackpot must be won, the prizes will be distributed in the normal manner if anyone matches all six main numbers. If, however, no players match all six numbers in a Must Be Won draw, the jackpot prize money is shared between winners in all of the other cash prize tiers. The Match 2 tier is the only one that doesn't get a share as the prize is a free Lucky Dip ticket, rather than a cash prize. The table below shows what percentage of the jackpot is allocated to each prize tier in this scenario:
|Numbers Matched||Allocation of Jackpot|
|5 + Bonus Ball||3%|
As the table shows, the majority of the jackpot money is shared between winners in the Match 3 tier. While this seems like a large amount, there are typically many winners at that level, so the prize amount per player will work out smaller than those in the tiers above. If there are no winners in any of these tiers in a Must Be Won draw, the jackpot money will be distributed according to percentages agreed by Camelot and the Gambling Commission at the time of the draw.
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.
In November 2018 the fixed jackpot cap was removed as part of wider changes to the game, which were introduced to create more jackpot winners. The limit of five rollovers followed by a Must Be Won draw took effect from Wednesday 21st November 2018.