- Thursday 26th February
Bought two more tickets for Saturday's main rollover draw.
- Sunday 22nd February
Added the "large balls" to the individual Euro Millions pages. Also started to
look at opening a Euro Millions section soon (yes, I'm generating the
various pages, but they're all "wrong" at the moment).
- Saturday 21st February
Added Euro Millions "mini balls" to the home page, though I bet you've spotted
that I didn't use a star shape for the two Lucky Stars balls. Two reasons for
that - one is that the balls are drawn with X Windows primitives and I didn't
want to work out the triangle angles needed for a star and the second reason
is that the so-called "Lucky Stars" balls do not have a star on them
in the real draw (and yet virtually every Euro Millions Web site out there
is using a star to represent them).
Whilst I was lurking around the mini balls code, I finally shifted the number
inside all home page mini balls one pixel to the left, cos the alignment
had been fractionally askew literally for years.
- Friday 20th February
Completed phase 1 of support for Euro Millions - auto-inclusion on
the home page and auto-generation of the individual lottery page.
Phase 2 will be to add the ball graphics that those two changes need
(it's trickier than it sounds, because there's a star graphic I've got
to come up with of course and do I label those "Lucky Star 1" and
"Lucky Star 2" in the graphic (probably just "Lucky Star") ?
One particular thing I'm proud about is the "natural English" phrasing
of how many tickets of each country won the Euro Millions jackpot
(it's to rub in the fact that the official site doesn't tell you which
countries won the jackpot if any non-UK country won it !). I'm also
storing sterling prizes as pence so I can avoid having to switch
my code from integer to floating point [which would be messy because
it would affect the other games] - just got to remember to divide
by 100 when I output them :-)
- Friday 13th February
Bought four more tickets for tomorrow's double rollover draw, but was
amused by the Tesco counter staff who didn't seem to know if
tonight's Euro Millions would be televised or not (it is, live
on Sky One at 9.00pm, but don't bother looking in your weekly UK TV
magazine for it, because it won't be listed there due to the "rush"
of getting approval only a week before tickets went on sale for it !).
The Euro Millions draw TV show was a bit of a damp squib - 4 mistakes by
the presenter and no audience made it a bit anti-climactic. Camelot took
2 hours to issue the full results and even then had them completely wrong
(figures in the wrong column, which also caused individual prizes to be
divided by the number of winners, plus prize amounts rounded to the nearest
pound, when they should be rounded down to the nearest 10p in fact).
- Thursday 12th February
Camelot updated their official site layout to accomodate Euro Millions
(and, it appears, Christmas Millionaire Maker, albeit about 6 weeks late !),
which duly screwed up my auto-grabber for the Daily Play winning numbers.
Camelot changed the Draw History pages to use a pop-up menu to select the
game and then when the winning numbers are displayed for Daily Play going
back 6 months, there is a dash ("-") between each number with no spaces
(there was a space and a dash previously). I duly adjusted my code to cope
with this and the auto-grabber now works again.
- Wednesday 11th February
Bought two more tickets for tonight's rollover draw. Finally received
the Euro Millions Rules and Procedures booklet from Camelot today.
- Sunday 8th February
Did some more Euro Millions FAQ updating after I discovered the
official French site's pages on the game and, of course, Google's hilarious translations
courtesy of the useful new "Tools -> Translate Page" menu option in
Mozilla 1.6. Also did a bit of news.google.com searching and found
a handy Times article that amazingly revealed that there is no minimum
age for purchasing a lottery ticket in France !
Constructed the new data file to hold Euro Millions results and it brought
up the question of how many ball sets there are (Camelot didn't tell me
last week on the phone despite me asking them, so it's another question
they need to answer tomorrow). Apart from that, the large number of
tiers and the need to store the ticket price per draw (because it changes
and I'll need it to work out how many physical tickets were bought) make
this the longest data line per game of any of the current Camelot games.
- Saturday 7th February
Yep, it's the fourth consecutive day I've phoned Camelot about the
shared jackpot prize pool (I was still having a hard time believing that
it wasn't shared, otherwise where does the word "Euro" fit in to the game
name ?). It turns that that the Camelot phone line staff had been wrongly
briefed for the 3 previous days and the jackpot prize pool is shared
amongst the 3 countries. Bizarrely, though, the lower tiers are not shared,
which still mostly makes this game 3 separate national lotteries (except for
the 1 in 76m people who may manage to win the jackpot).
Picked up a Euro Millions playslip and leaflet today and neither of them
mention that only the jackpot prize pool is shared - it's a bit sneaky
of Camelot to keep the fact that the game is really a national lottery
(all tiers except the jackpot are funded by the respective country's ticket
sales only) with a very remote chance (more than 5 times worse than the
main UK Lotto) of winning a combined Euro jackpot.
- Friday 6th February
I panicked a bit when I checked the official Camelot site this morning because
they'd not only finally put up some info about the new Euro Millions game
(only the day before they start selling tickets for it !), but they also
claimed that "there is one massive prize fund to share between all three countries".
I was going to phone Camelot yet again this morning to triple-check on this prize
pool thing, so I duly phoned up and, yes, got Alison again.
She absolutely confirmed to me that the prize pools are separate for each country
and that she'd been fielding calls from disgruntled (and, quite frankly, blatantly
ignorant) people saying "I don't want
to play Euro Millions if some French or Spanish person is going to win using my
money". It would be great if there was a shared prize pool across countries -
the UK would have the most players and win the most jackpots and when they do win
those jackpots, we get to keep the money given to us by French and Spanish players
(making the amount we'd win much larger too).
Got some info on the machines and ball sets, confirmation that there will probably
never be a subscription service because of the ticket price fluctuation and I requested
a Rules and Procedures booklet on the game, because the prize calculations look
complex and there's a "trust fund" shared across the 3 countries that I need more
info on (this fund is for paying out jackpot prizes if they exceed ticket
sales). I've updated the FAQ on this stuff, including some provisional info
about the trust fund.
- Thursday 5th February
The BBC News Web site had a Euro Millions article just after 10.00am
this morning, so I phoned Camelot at 10.20am and caught poor old Alison
sitting down reading the "bumpf" she's been given w.r.t. Euro Millions.
She kindly answered all my questions, but wasn't certain on the exact
price the tickets would be initially sold at (probably £1.50, but
could be £1.40).
The big shocker was when she told me that the prize pool isn't shared
across all UK, French and Spanish players (each country has its own prize
pool only contributed to by each country's own ticket sales) - I was utterly
staggered by that and asked her to absolutely confirm this (she did). It
effectively means we now have two UK national lotteries - "main UK Lotto"
and the "UK Millions" game (well, that's what it really should have been
called because any pretence it's "European" is a sham).
It was disappointing to see that all the UK mainstream press completely
missed this point, with the Press Association seemingly making the biggest
faux pas by implying that "one of the difficulties they are going to face is
the headline in The Sun when the first £50 million jackpot is won by a
foreigner". This suggests to me that they think that the jackpot is shared
across countries, which it isn't ! Anyway, there's now a new Euro Millions
FAQ up to hopefully answer everyone's questions and stop my newsflashes
having to be so big about it :-)
- Wednesday 4th February
I phoned Camelot and they seemed fairly clueless about the Euro Millions
game (doesn't help that the official Camelot Web site doesn't have a word
anywhere on it about the new game either) and told me to phone back
- Tuesday 3rd February
I walked into my local Tesco store tonight and was surprised to see
a "Play Euro Millions Here" poster by the lottery counter. I asked the
woman at the counter if there were any playslips or leaflets and apparently
there weren't (well, that's made them liars by putting up that poster then!),
but the woman said the first draw would be on Friday 13th February (yes,
an unlucky date...). It turns out Tesco were very naughty and shouldn't
have put the poster up until Saturday !