National Lottery request for ‘must win’ draw put on hold by regulator

A request to have a “must win” draw in the National Lottery has been put on hold by the regulator.

Premier Lotteries Ireland, which operate the National Lottery, last month called for the “must win” draw after more than 50 rollovers of the jackpot.

That unprecedented rollover streak without a winner of the Lotto jackpot has continued into the New Year. The jackpot has now not been won on 62 successive occasions.

Last month Premier Lotteries made a request to the Office of the Lottery Regulator that if nobody matched the six numbers, the €19 million jackpot ought to be shared among those who had five numbers or five numbers plus the bonus number.

In a statement to The Irish Times, regulator Carol Boate said the National Lottery requested on December 7th a change to the Lotto game rules.

However, she has turned down their initial request stating that she needs more information.

Any changes to the Lotto game rules must be made in the “interest of players, ensuring the National Lottery is run with all due propriety and, subject to these, that good causes are maximised”.

She has sought more “tests and assurances” from Premier Lotteries on its proposal for a must win game and those “assurances are pending”.

Consequently, the Lotto game will continue as normal on the National Lottery website.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Finance last month, Ms Boate said 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”.

It has also been the case that the Lotto jackpot was won on three Saturdays in a row in 2020.

The jackpot has not been won since June 9th. The current jackpot rollover is unprecedented. The previous record was 22 rollovers.

Ms Boate said approximately €46 million has been earned for good causes since the jackpot was last won.

The losing streak was first highlighted by Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan who described the draw as “unwinnable” and suggested that confidence needed to be restored in the National Lottery.

He questioned how long the public would continue to buy tickets if there was no jackpot winner soon.