Will The UK Crown Its Biggest Ever EuroMillions Winner?
Updated: Wednesday 9th October 2019
**The record breaking £170 million EuroMillions jackpot was won in the UK on Tuesday 8th October! Find out more.**
The biggest lottery jackpot in UK history could be won after EuroMillions reached £167 million. The top prize is now at its maximum amount following a record-breaking run of rollovers.
There has not been a jackpot winner since a player from Spain landed £96 million on Friday 19th July, with the top prize steadily growing until it hit its cap in the draw on Tuesday 24th September.
The cap is set at €190 million and is specified in euros because it is the currency of seven of the nine participating countries. The current exchange rate puts it higher than any jackpot that has ever been paid out in the UK.
Jackpot Cap Creates Bigger Prizes
With the jackpot cap now in place, bigger prizes are also up for grabs in some of the lower tiers. The funds that would normally boost the jackpot are instead allocated to the next category in which there are winners. In the draw on Tuesday 24th September, for example, a UK player who matched five main numbers and only one Lucky Star still won £3.6 million.
By comparison, the Lotto jackpot starts at a minimum of £2 million (£3.8 million on a Saturday) and you have to match all six of the winning numbers. The odds of winning in the second tier of EuroMillions are approximately six times better than the chances of winning the Lotto jackpot, and the prize could well be larger while the jackpot cap is applied.
The record jackpot also leads to a high level of ticket sales throughout Europe, creating a larger prize fund than normal for each category. The percentage allocated to each tier is then split between winning players.
Ticket sales close at 7:30pm on the night of a draw, so make sure not to miss out ahead of the next game. The jackpot can only stay at €190 million for four draws at the most before it has to be won in the following draw, meaning that Tuesday 8th October is the latest it could be won. Take part online or visit an authorised retailer.
The UK’s Biggest Winners
The current record for the UK’s biggest jackpot is the £161 million won by Colin and Christine Weir. The Scottish couple, from Largs in Ayrshire, bought their winning ticket for the draw on 12th July 2011 from a local McColls store. They purchased five Lucky Dips and were checking them one by one after the draw when they got to the fifth line and all the numbers matched up.
They spent their winnings on a multimillion-pound mansion, homes for their two children and various causes close to their heart. They made donations to the Scottish National Party ahead of the independence referendum, as well as their favourite football team Partick Thistle. The Weir Charitable Trust was also established to support projects throughout Scotland.
Adrian and Gillian Bayford from Haverhill in Suffolk actually won a larger prize in euros than the Weirs when they claimed a jackpot worth €190 million on 10th August 2012. However, this was converted to €148 million based on the exchange rate at the time, placing them second on the list of the biggest UK’s winners.
The win put the Bayfords 516th on the British Rich List and they immediately set their sights on a dream house. Gillian also revealed that she wanted to buy her fantasy car - an Audi Q7 - while Adrian planned to visit the Canadian Rockies by train. He also went on to open up his own record store, featuring a wide range of film and music memorabilia.
Publicity v Anonymity
Although the Weirs and the Bayford both decided to go public, the next big winner would not have to share their story with the world. UK players are allowed to stay anonymous if they would prefer to keep their identities private. The winner of a £123 million jackpot this June - who currently stands as the country’s third-largest winner - claimed their prize in secret.
If you decide to stay anonymous when you win, you still receive all the same financial and emotional support that you would if you went public. It just means that you can get on with life as normally as possible, away from the glare of media scrutiny or unwanted interest from people that become aware of your win.
It is one of the first key decisions that any big winner needs to make, and some winners such as the Weirs and the Bayfords have come to the conclusion that they were happy to go public. In the Weirs’ case, their increased profile undoubtedly helped them with their charitable endeavours as they had more transparency than a foundation set up by an anonymous winner.
You have 180 days to claim any prizes you win in the UK so there is never an urgent rush to come forward. The location where a winning ticket is sold is only revealed if a prize remains unclaimed two weeks after a draw has taken place, to help jog the memory of players in that specific area.Published: Wednesday 25th September 2019
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