How Did Saturday’s Record Lotto Jackpot Get So Big?
Updated: Wednesday 5th July 2017
As Lotto players set their sights on Saturday night’s extraordinary jackpot and the record-breaking draw attracts mass media coverage, ticket sales are expected to reach new levels. The top prize is worth an estimated £57.8 million and a late surge of interest could push the figure even higher, as the full amount must be won on the night, but how did it get so big in the first place, and will jackpots like these be a common occurrence in the future?
The seeds of tomorrow night’s record jackpot were sown back in October, when a number of changes were made to the way Lotto is played. The ball pool was increased to give participants 59 numbers to choose from rather than the previous 49, which resulted in the odds of winning the jackpot lengthening to 1 in 45 million from 1 in 13 million.
Another important change was to remove the limit on rollovers which had been in place throughout the game’s history. Previously, if there had been four draws in a row in which nobody matched all six main numbers, the top prize would have to be given away in the next game, even if they hadn’t matched all the winning numbers drawn. Under the new rules, the jackpot has been able to keep rolling over until it passes £50 million, which happened on Wednesday 6th January. The top prize now has to be won on Saturday and will spill down to the next winning tier if no players can match all six main numbers on the night.
October’s changes also improved the chances of winning £1 million by introducing a new Lotto Millionaire Raffle, in which at least one ticket holder is guaranteed to become a millionaire in every draw. To mark the launch of the game, there were 25 winning codes worth £1 million and there have been a number of draws since to create multiple millionaires. Another such draw is due on Saturday 16th January, when five players will win cash rewards of £1 million.
The promise at the time of the changes was that there would be bigger jackpots, the creation of more millionaires and better odds of winning a prize - thanks to the introduction of a new prize tier for matching two main numbers - and there can be little doubt that the rapidly-growing jackpot has generated the excitement that both players and organisers have been hoping for all along.
There has never been such a big jackpot in the 21-year history of the game and, as the top prize must be won, there is a chance of winning huge amounts of cash on Saturday without necessarily having to match all six main numbers. Having reached new heights just three months after the changes came into effect, it is also very likely that big jackpots will become increasingly common.
Players are set to keep purchasing tickets in droves right up until Saturday night and you can make sure not to miss out by either playing online or visiting an authorised retailer in the UK. It may be that you fancy playing in a syndicate or want to go it alone and become Lotto’s biggest ever winner. At least one player will get to feel the buzz of claiming the jackpot this weekend, opening up a world of fantastic possibilities. Good luck!Published: Friday 8th January 2016
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