Lotto boss calls for rule changes to allow must-win jackpot draws

Chief executive Andrew Algeo asks that draw could be won by someone who matched five numbers, after a certain period of time elapsing without the jackpot being claimed

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21 December 2021 | 0

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National Lottery executives are seeking for a rule change that would allow for must-win draws following a certain period of time, in a bid to stop prolonged Lotto jackpot rollovers.

The last Lotto jackpot was won in early June, with the top prize having been capped at just above €19 million since October.

Premier Lotteries Ireland chief executive Andrew Algeo appeared before the Oireachtas finance committee on Wednesday, where he requested regulatory approval for changes which would mean “an improbably long wait for a capped jackpot win cannot occur again”.

In his submission, Algeo proposed that a draw would have to be won, if not by someone who matched all six numbers, then by someone who matched five, after a certain period of time elapsing without the jackpot being claimed. This “would also allow us to provide certainty to Lotto players, as to the latest date on which this record €19 million jackpot will be won by,” he said.

“It was somewhat unusual that we had Lotto jackpot winners on three consecutive Saturdays just before this long roll,” Algeo said. “Variation in jackpot roll lengths occur because each lottery draw is a pure game of chance without memory.”

He added that it is in the National Lottery’s interest that the jackpot was seen as “both aspirational and possible” and this meant jackpots would have to be “large enough and won frequently enough”.

Derek Donohue, deputy regulator of the National Lottery, told the committee that the Lotto was “operating in line with the game rules”, and said there were “no regulatory issues” calling the draw into question. He also added that “independent observers from KPMG attend every Lotto draw”.

“The current extended period without a jackpot win is unusual in the history of the game, but it is not unusual in the history of lotteries,” Donohue said. “Statistically unlikely events are part of the nature of games of chance and lotteries.”

That proposal, is now under consideration by the regulator Carol Boate, who told the committee: “I want to make sure it is correctly and appropriately described in the game rules and we also check for the impact on the risk of the game to players.”

However, it is understood the must-win proposal could operate in a similar way to the process in the UK, where if the jackpot is not won over five consecutive draws the next tier of winners share the lotto prize.

 

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