The price of a lottery ticket is going up while the odds of winning the big jackpot are going down, as part of a raft of new changes to the National Lottery.
Starting from next month, customers will be charged an extra 50c per line – a price hike of a third. Punters will now have to pay a minimum of €4 per ticket, for two lines with no plus, where they would previously have paid only €3. With the addition of Lotto Plus, two-line tickets will cost €5.
Two extra numbers will also be added to the draw, meaning the chance of picking all six numbers and winning the jackpot is considerably reduced.
There will now be 47 numbers to choose from instead of 45 – the odds of picking all six numbers goes from just over eight million to one to almost 11 million to one. As such, there will be an average of 14 jackpot winners a year – three less than previously.
Lotto bosses, however, said the changes will also mean larger jackpots. The average jackpot win will now go from €4.5million to €6.3 m.
The overall odds of winning a prize have gone up – from one in 42 to one in 28.7, due to additional smaller prizes, including €100,000 for matching five numbers and the bonus ball, and a prize for matching two numbers plus the bonus number.
“We haven’t changed the game in nine years and we feel now is the time to introduce changes to the game so that it is bigger, it is better and there’s more prizes,” Dermot Griffin, CEO of Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), said on RTÉ Radio One.
“Bigger, better lotto will deliver a more exciting game and bigger jackpots for our players, which will generate more funds for good causes.”
While Mr Griffin failed to say how much money Premier Lotteries Ireland stands to make from the price hike, which comes into effect on September 5, he said they do not expect a drop in sales.
He also said within the first five years of the new structure, the National Lottery expects to break the record for the biggest jackpot – the landmark €18m top prize was won by a syndicate in Co Carlow in 2008.
The move was widely criticised by Lotto players online and by Fianna Fáil spokesman on public expenditure, Seán Fleming.“This price hike today is a direct result of the decision of the Government to privatise the national lottery and when you privatise the national lottery what else do private companies do only try and increase their turnover and their profit,” he said.
“Since the operation of the National Lottery was handed over to Premier Lotteries Ireland last year, we have seen a litany of problems including the first ever cancellation of a lotto draw after machines broke down in February this year. Now we see price increases being brought in, while the chances of winning the main prize are being reduced.”
The National Lottery agent council, of retail groups, said the new structure would make the games “more attractive” to customers, and
“changes should be considered in the context of the benefit to our customers and our communities in raising additional funds for good causes”.
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