When Camelot made the Lotto jackpot harder to win last year by increasing the number of balls from 49 to 59, one of the arguments put forward in favour of the move was that it would lead to “bigger rolling jackpots”. As 2016 begins, Camelot has got its wish.
Wednesday’s Lotto jackpot was GB£ 50 million and was not won yet again, after 13 consecutive rollovers. Saturday’s jackpot will be in the region of GB£ 57 million and, if it is not won, it will be shared out between winning tickets in the lower tiers of the prize pool.
Whatever happens, the government is a guaranteed winner because it claims 12% of lottery sales in duty.
In the longer term, however, Lotto sales could be dented if the public get the impression that the jackpot is unwinnable (or even less winnable) under the new set up. Big jackpot winners are the publicity that keeps people playing and if the jackpots are being won less frequently there are fewer winners’ stories to tell.