How 40 Players Won A Lotto Jackpot in The Same Draw

The dream of winning a lottery jackpot comes true for lucky players around the world every week, but an extraordinary draw in New Zealand on Wednesday left 40 ticket holders in a different kind of shock as they all had to share the top prize of NZ\$1 million.

The winners matched the numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 to end up with NZ\$25,000 (approximately £12,600) each. The result set a new record for the highest number of players to have won the New Zealand Lotto jackpot in the 31-year history of the game.

Two of the players also matched the Powerball number to take home an additional NZ\$2.5 million each, but the other winners were actually left with a lower payout than the five ticket holders who matched five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball and received NZ\$27,431 each.

The New Zealand Lottery confirmed that one player had purchased four of the jackpot-winning tickets, boosting their prize to NZ\$100,000. Those entries were bought in Hastings at Flaxmere’s Scott Drive Four Square, and store owner Becky Gee told reporters: “Usually one shop gets one but one shop got four, unbelievable.”

Why Were There So Many Winners?

It is not uncommon for multiple players to share the New Zealand Lotto jackpot, but to have so many winners is unprecedented. The most likely reason is that the winning numbers followed a recognisable sequence, starting with 3 and going up by two.

The odds of winning the jackpot are far longer than the odds of matching five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball, but there were fewer players in the second tier because the Bonus of 36 does not fit in with the pattern of the other numbers. A percentage of the prize fund is allocated to each category and the money is shared between winners, explaining how the players in the second tier ended up with a larger payout.

The odds of any combination of numbers being drawn are identical, but many players like to select numbers that follow a familiar pattern. The downside of such a technique is that you are more likely to have to share a big prize if your numbers do appear, as the New Zealand Lotto winners have discovered this week. If you play random numbers - perhaps by asking for a Lucky Dip or using a number generator - there is less chance that you will have to share a prize.

Other Extraordinary Results

This week’s New Zealand Lotto draw is not the first time that a lottery has seen an unusually high number of winners. Back on Saturday 14th January 1995, 133 UK players shared a Lotto jackpot of £16.2 million, leaving them with £122,510 each. The winning numbers - 7, 17, 23, 32, 38 and 42 - appeared random, but they were actually all on the same column of the playslip.

Nobody won the jackpot in the Lotto draw on Wednesday 23rd March 2016, but 4,082 players matched five main numbers to end up with just £15 each. The ‘Match 4’ winners received £51 and even the ‘Match 3’ players took home a bigger fixed prize of £25. Five of the numbers drawn were multiples of seven and it is likely that the vast majority of the ‘Match 5’ winners had selected their lines on this basis.

Big Draws This Week

If you want to try and win a lottery prize this week there is no need to travel to New Zealand, as the Lotto jackpot for Saturday stands at an impressive £20 million and there is a EuroMillions Superdraw scheduled for Friday night.

The Superdraw will offer a gigantic jackpot of £115 million (€130 million), and you can take part online or by going to an authorised retailer. There would still be a spectacular payout even if there are 40 winners, and if the jackpot rolls over then an even larger amount will be put up for grabs in the following draw.

Published: Thursday 20th September 2018