Must Be Won Draws
A ‘Must Be Won’ draw is one in which the jackpot money has to be given away. They are held in both Lotto and EuroMillions, taking place when rules come into effect relating to the game’s jackpot cap or rollover limit. If no tickets match the full winning line in these special draws, the funds for the top prize are diverted to other tiers.
How They Work in EuroMillions
When a Must Be Won draw is held in EuroMillions, the jackpot money goes down to the next tier in which there are winners if nobody matches all the numbers.
Unlike in Lotto, Must Be Won draws have become less frequent in EuroMillions as time has gone on. The original rules allowed the jackpot to roll just 11 times before a Must Be Won draw was held in the next draw. This first happened on Friday 3rd February 2006, when the top prize had to be won and three players split £126 million (€183 million). On Friday 17th November 2006, no tickets matched all the numbers in a Must Be Won draw so 20 players ended up winning £6.7 million (€9.6 million) each after matching five main numbers plus one Lucky Star.
A jackpot cap of €185 million was introduced in 2009 and this was later set at €190 million. The current rules allow for the jackpot to remain at this value for a maximum of four more draws before it must be won in the fifth draw at €190 million. Although the jackpot has reached €190 million on multiple occasions, it has never stayed at this level for long enough for a Must Be Won draw to be held.
How They Work in Lotto
In Lotto, there is a jackpot cap of £22 million currently in place. Once the top prize has reached this mark, it can roll one more time. A Must Be Won draw will then take place in the following game. If there are no ‘Match 6’ winners in this draw, the jackpot money will go to players in the next winning tier.
This is likely to be players matching five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball, however, if there are no winning tickets in this category, the funds are split between participants matching five main numbers.
Must Be Won draws have become increasingly common in recent years as the rules of the game have been adapted. When the National Lottery was launched, there was initially a rollover limit rather than a jackpot cap, but the top prize was won very frequently and Must Be Won draws were rarely required. The first time that the jackpot had to spill down to a lower tier was on Saturday 4th January 2014, when 23 players matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Balls to split a £13.3 million prize.
Under the rules at the time, the jackpot had to be won in this draw because there had been four consecutive rollovers. Regulations dictated that the jackpot had to be given away in the fifth draw if there were no ‘Match 6’ winners.
The introduction of a jackpot cap in 2015, along with the addition of ten more balls to the number matrix, meant that the top prize was won less regularly. However, it still took nine or ten rollovers before a Must Be Won draw would be needed.
Jackpot rolldowns will be introduced in Lotto in November 2018, and will occur when nobody matches all the numbers in a Must Be Won draw. Rather than just being diverted to players in the next prize category where there is at least one winner, jackpot rolldowns will see the money shared between winning ticket holders in multiple tiers. Everyone from the ‘Match 3’ tier to the ‘Match 5 + Bonus’ tier will receive a larger payout than the fixed prizes normally on offer.