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Lottery Rollovers

Lottery rollovers occur when no one wins the jackpot in a draw. The funds that would normally have been awarded to the top-tier winner are instead added to the jackpot for the following game.

Why Do Rollovers Happen?

Rollovers help push the jackpot higher, as ticket sales and funds from the previous draw are added to the value of the top prize. As the advertised prize increases, more people tend to buy tickets as they hope for a huge win. Playing for the same amount week after week won’t create the same amount of excitement – or ticket sales – as a rapidly-growing jackpot.

Do Rollovers Generate More Ticket Sales?

When changes to Lotto were made in October 2015, one of the main advantages put forth by lottery officials was that the jackpot would roll over more often, generating bigger jackpots and creating more interest in the game. This approach appears to have been successful; in the draw on January 9th 2016, which saw two players split a jackpot of £66 million, had originally been advertised as £57.8 million. The huge amount of interest in the draw added a further £11.8 million to the top prize fund, with ticket sales estimated at an incredible £95 million.

What Were the Longest Lottery Rollovers?

The longest Lotto rollover encompassed 15 draws – the jackpot rolled after the draw on Saturday 14th November 2015 in which one player won £4.3 million and kept rolling until Saturday 9th January 2016. The jackpot, worth £66 million, was split by two ticket holders – David and Carol Martin of the Scottish Borders and an anonymous player from Worcester.

There is a tie for the longest EuroMillions rollover under the existing rules. The top prize rolled over 14 times before being won both in 2011 and 2012, reaching the predetermined jackpot cap in both instances. On 12th July 2011, Chris and Colin Weir from Ayrshire in Scotland won £161.6 million (€185 million), while Adrian and Gillian Bayford of Haverhill, Suffolk, won an amazing £148.6 million (€190 million) on 10th August 2012. The Bayfords won slightly more in Euro than the Weirs because, after the Scottish couple scooped the top prize, the jackpot cap was raised by €5 million to its current value.

What Happens if a Lottery Has a Rollover Limit?

Some lottery games have limits on the value the jackpot can reach, or the number of times it can roll over. Before the new rules came into effect, Lotto had a four-rollover limit, meaning that the jackpot had to be won in the fifth draw or else the entire amount would roll down and be shared among players in the next highest winning tier. This limit was scrapped in October 2015, but a new rule was put in place that initially allowed the jackpot to roll over to £50 million. Once it has met or exceeded this amount, the top prize can only roll over one more time before it must be won. Should no player then match six main numbers, the entire jackpot will roll down into the next prize tier with winning participants. The current Lotto jackpot cap is £22 million.

For EuroMillions, the jackpot can roll over until it reaches the value of €190 million. It can stay at that amount for four draws. Similar to Lotto, if there are no winners in the fourth draw at the EuroMillions jackpot cap, the entire prize rolls down into the next winning tier.

What Do You Call Multiple Rollovers?

If a jackpot has rolled over twice, three times or even four times, it’s pretty easy to describe; you would refer to it as a double rollover, triple rollover or quadruple rollover. However, if the run of rollovers continues, you might be hard-pressed to think of an adjective that covers the ninth or even the 20th rollover of a game.

Keep in mind that the higher numbers (6 – 20) are not often used, and in this instance most lotteries will advertise that there has been a “6x rollover, a “10x rollover” or another number that accurately reflects how many rollovers there have been.