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Main Lotto Changes in 2015

From Saturday 10th October 2015 onwards, the main Lotto will again change radically as follows:

FeatureOld Main LottoNew Main Lotto
Number of balls 49 59 (20% increase)
Jackpot (6-match) odds 13,983,816 to 1 45,057,474 to 1 (222% increase - 3.22 times harder to win)
5+bonus odds 2,330,636 to 1 7,509,579 to 1 (222% increase - 3.22 times harder to win)
5-match odds 55,491 to 1 144,415 to 1 (160% increase - 2.60 times harder to win)
4-match odds 1,033 to 1 2,180 to 1 (111% increase - 2.11 times harder to win)
3-match odds 57 to 1 97 to 1 (70% increase - 1.70 times harder to win)
Overall odds to win any cash prize 54 to 1 93 to 1 (72% increase - 1.72 times harder to win)
2-match "win" Nothing awarded. Lucky Dip ticket "won" (offline or online) at odds of 10.3 to 1 for the next Saturday or Wednesday draw (player can pick which of the two the ticket is entered into).
Raffle 50 winners of £20,000 with a few "Super Raffles" with one or more £1m additional prizes. Early rollovers had 50 more winners added cumulatively per rollover, but this was eventually scrapped. 1 winner of £1m and 20 winners of £20,000.

Note that everything else stays the same including the draw days (Wed and Sat), the cost of a ticket (£2) and the bonus ball rules (only applies if you match exactly 5 of the 6 main balls drawn).

So what are the issues with the main Lotto changes? Let's go through them one by one:

Increasing the number of balls from 49 to 59

Ignoring that I have to undertake a massive site re-code for this change, Camelot have finally implemented a ball increase that I suggested in the previous 2013 changes. Needless to say, they messed it up by adding ten balls rather than the single one I suggested. This means that the chances of winning any of tiers are much worse - between 1.70 and 3.22 times harder in fact.

"Winning" a Lucky Dip ticket if you match 2 numbers

This really is quite sneaky by Camelot, because it's not a cash prize and in fact is more than 98% likely to be utterly worthless. However, quite deviously, Camelot do refer to this as a "prize" when it clearly isn't (it's a piece of paper or an online entry worth nothing at the time of your "prize win" and has a less than 2% chance of being worth anything after the draw it's entered into takes place).

So why call it a "prize" when it most definitely isn't? Well, it's so that Camelot can shamefully include it in with the cash prizes when calculating your chance of winning a "prize" (they don't ever refer to your chances of actually winning a cash prize though, because it's now much worse than before).

£1m Millionaire Raffle prize and twenty £20,000 prizes

I pointed out that the raffle added in the 2013 changes was utter rubbish (20 grand prizes are, quite frankly, a joke) and Camelot have finally decided to have a £1m raffle prize in an identical manner to the Euro Millions. However, they couldn't help messing this one up again by still insisting on 20 grand prizes (20 of them in fact) as well, which are an utter waste of time.

Rollover limit changed from 4 draws to a jackpot prize cap

Because the 59 balls will make it more than 3 times harder to win the jackpot, clearly there will be a lot more rollovers. Hence, the utterly stupid maximum of 4 consecutive rollovers has finally been scrapped. Before you shout "yay!", Camelot made the same mistake as the Euro Millions by insisting there's a jackpot prize pool cap. It's 185m Euros with Euro Millions, but I bet it'll be disappointingly much lower with the main Lotto (they'll probably work it out at around a dozen rollover draws - e.g. maybe £50m).

It should be noted that although I'll be keeping my current first Lotto line with my Direct Debit, I'll have to re-think what tickets I buy for rollovers with the new rules. I'll probably stick to a maximum of 5 tickets (£10) per draw, but that could get quite expensive on a long run of rollovers that's entirely possible now. Also, the actual numbers I pick for the second to fifth tickets may need to be "re-done" to include some of the new numbers between 50 and 59.

OK, smarty pants, what would you have done instead?

Here's ideas I've had over the years that Camelot haven't bothered implementing:

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