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Lotto bosses seek approval for ‘must-be-won draw’ after no jackpot win in six months

“That would also allow us to provide certainty to Lotto players, as to the latest date on which this record €19m jackpot will be won by”
National Lottery

National Lottery

Philip Ryan

The operators of the National Lottery have sought regulatory approval for a ‘must-be-won draw’ following controversy over no one winning the €19m jackpot for six months.

In a statement provided to the Oireachtas Finance Committee, Premier Lotteries Ireland chief executive Andrew Algeo said the company wants to introduce ‘a must-be-won draw’ to ensure an “an improbably long wait for a capped jackpot win cannot occur again”.

“That would also allow us to provide certainty to Lotto players, as to the latest date on which this record €19m jackpot will be won by,” he added.

The statement was given head of an appearance at the committee meeting tomorrow by representatives of both Premier Lotteries and the regulator of the National Lottery.

Stock image

Stock image

The controversy over the National Lottery was sparked by Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan who raised concerns about the number of weeks the lotto draw has run without a winner.

The jackpot last being won on June 9.

The decision by Premier Lotteries to seek approval for a ‘must-be-won draw’ for the €19m jackpot is a major political win for the Kildare North TD.

Mr Alego said it is “highly unusual” that this Lotto jackpot still has no winner. “Given the tickets purchased since early June, the chances are akin to rolling a die 37 times without the number ‘6’ arising,” he said.

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

He said it is in his company’s interest that the Lotto jackpot is seen as “both aspirational and possible”. “That requires jackpots to be both large enough and won frequently enough,” he added.

National Lottery deputy regulator Derek Donohoe said the current “unprecedented rollover” of the jackpot is happening while the Lotto is “operating in line with the game rules” and insisted he has identified there “no regulatory issues”.

In his statement to the committee, Mr Donohoe said: “Independent observers from KPMG attend every Lotto draw, though nowadays they are not seen on camera during the live TV broadcast, to ensure that the strict protocols in place are followed to the letter.

“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.

"Statistically unlikely events are part of the nature of games of chance and lotteries,” he added.

He also noted the jackpot was previously won on three consecutive Saturdays.

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