Next month: March 2006
So playing simply logically, here would be your 3 tickets:
Well, it makes you a tiny profit of £2.60 and if you decided to play the Lucky Stars differently (i.e. 6 and 9 on the 2nd ticket and 3 and 9 on the third ticket), then you'd actually win nothing and lose your entire £4.50. So unless you bought more than 3 tickets and wheeled them into overlapping multiples of 3, you wouldn't have been onto any significant winner with the "power of three" theory.
It's probably time to calculate the number of tickets sold in the UK and Europe for last night's Euro Millions draw again using my good old "guesstimating formulae" as the technical expression goes:
Then ignoring the Swiss playing in Swiss Francs:
Guess what - yesterday, I'd estimated that 135m-140m tickets would be sold and the approximate figure above showed that I was spot on. This is why I thought the BBC "expert" on Friday morning claiming that 65m people would play was a bit low - each person would have played roughly 2 tickets each, which would cost £3 to a UK player...I suspect there were far more one-ticket players in this draw (people sucked in by the frenzy of the publicity, but not wanting to spend £3 or more) than multi-ticket players, but since Camelot don't reveal such statistics, we'll never know.
After all of last night's "excitement" and the end of the Euro Millions unwon jackpot sequence, it's easy to forget that tonight's main Lotto draw is actually a rollover! I duly popped over to the official site and bought my two additional tickets for that draw online. Why anyone with Net access would actually go and buy a physical ticket is anyone's guess...it's much easier to buy a ticket in your pyjamas in your bedroom than having to get dressed and go to your local Tesco store :-)
The access stats for this site show that yesterday I broke 100,000 page impressions for a single day for the first time in 5.5 years (and that time back in July 2000, it turned out to be a berserk spider that was following my dynamic cgi-bin links). Also note that if I get 48,000 or more page impressions today (virtually certain), it will become the second most popular week for the site ever (behind the spider mad week I mentioned). Perhaps the most impressive figure of all was the 38,655 page impressions the site achieved between 10.00pm-11.00pm last night - a new all-time hourly record at a rate of 10.7 page impressions a second, beating last week's record set during the same hour by a massive 80%.
I phoned up Camelot this morning to get the number of UK winners in each Euro Millions tier, only to get what sounded like a fairly clueless Indian guy on the line, who kept trying to read out the number of European winners of each tier to me (3, 46, 67, etc...) until I pointed out the mistake and he then put me on hold for 3 minutes! When it hit the 4th minute of waiting, I decided to hang up, because I suspect it was the same guy I had last month who read out several of the figures wrongly to me when he did the same "read out European winners and then put me on hold" trick.
I waited a few minutes and then re-dialled to hopefully get another more clueful person on the phone line. Guess what? I got a woman this time and she wrongly started reading out the European figures as well! I again pointed out (despite her initially denying it) that those were European figures and she relented and, yes, you've guessed it, I was put on hold again. It turns out their internal systems had "crashed" (hey, almost like the groaning struggle that was their public Web site last night) and they were having to get printouts of everything. At least I finally got the figures after all that...
The official Belgian Euro Millions site recovers from its on-off .Net failures at 11.30pm and is back to showing tonight's full results again. The Swiss (Swisslos) site becomes the last one to show the full results (at 11.50pm) and ends my blog session for the evening. OK, I fibbed there, because the Swiss (Loterie Romande) site finally sorted its DB error issues around midnight and is now displaying the full results. Plus someone kindly e-mailed me a URL that was a few clicks away from the official Portuguse Euro Millions site (which itself is the only official site to display its results in https mode, which I don't really see the need for).
A few minutes after I posted up the "state of play" with the official sites below, the French official Euro Millions site finally put up the full results, some 2 hours and 15 minutes after the draw had taken place - pretty poor considering they hosted the draw in Paris and also had 2 of the 3 jackpot winners! At around 11.20pm, Camelot finally updated their figures too, which was an abysmal effort from them (and, yes, scooped by the BBC News site to announcing the number of jackpot winners for the second week in a row!). Meanwhile, the brief respite of the Belgian's official site's .Net problem ends and it's back to a .Net traceback again. Some time near to this (11.25pm?), the Austrian site updated with the full results, but I rarely take notice of that - it did however leave the Swiss (Swisslos) site still being the only one with no full results (or even winning numbers!) 2.5 hours after the draw.
So, here we are over 2 hours after the Euro Millions draw has finished and I finally glance at the user-hostile tiny scrolling applet message on the Irish site and lo and behold, along scrolls the info about 2 French and 1 Portuguse jackpot winner. Why the freaking hell do they put important information like that in such a "I'll blank that from my mind cos it's scrolling text with a spam-like content no doubt" format? It was probably there since 10.38pm, but it took me about 30 minutes to even notice it! I think it might be time to fire off a note to the Webmaster of their site about that...
Anyway, here's the official sites' state of play as of 11.15pm:
The BBC update their news article at 11.03pm to indicate the three jackpot winners, some 25 minutes after the Irish site had that information. They do state that there were two jackpot winners in France and one in Portugal (though bizarrely list Portugal first, despite having less winners).
Camelot's phone line closes at 11.00pm whilst I have two Firefox tabs loading their crippled and hopelessly useless official site pages. No full results when the pages finally load after some 3 minutes - this means you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how many UK winners in each tier there were because Camelot haven't told you that on their Web site for ages now (I'll be phoning them up on Saturday morning to find out the figures). The Belgian site recovers from its earlier .Net atrocities and posts up the full results at around 11.00pm.
The official Spanish site updated the full results at around 10.55pm and finally gave us the ticket sales figure for the whole of Europe: 279m Euros (£192m) - this is some £33m more than last week.
The official Irish Euro Millions site beat every else again to the full results (10.38pm) and I briefly transcribed them wrongly - put the jackpot prize pool as the individual jackpot prize (didn't account for the 3 winners...)...ho hum. Luxembourg official site seems to have updated the winning numbers and full results now (difficult to say when - 10.50pm? - because I wasn't paying too much attention to it).
The official Belgian site's results page crashed out at 10.35pm for me with a horrible .Net framework traceback ("an unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request").
Ironically, after the official sites have been melting down tonight, this server started to struggle, so I've upped the maximum connections from 250 to 500 and restarted this Web server, which should hopefully help. A lottery-mad friend of mine finally got off the phone with me after 30 minutes where all I was doing was reloading pages and telling him if there was any news (which there wasn't)...had to get off the phone because things start to get frantic after 10.30pm...
The official Irish Euro Millions site updated the jackpot prize pool amount (183m Euros) at around 10.23pm - at the same time, the BBC News Web site replaced its pre-draw news article with a rubbishy "the numbers have been drawn and here they are" one - er, like 80 minutes too late, BBC bods - we know all that...what about the number of jackpot winners? Meanwhile, the official UK site is still barely responding - definitely in meltdown.
Sure enough, Camelot's official site is suffering from connection resets as of 9.55pm, so it joins the crowd of partially-knackered official sites then.
It's 9.33pm now and the Swisslos official Euro Millions Swiss site appears to be going into meltdown - I just got a Firefox error page: "The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading". Yep, that's the first such message of the night for any of the official servers! Meanwhile, the official Luxembourg site has been showing signs of strain now too for the last 10 minutes or so. It really does look like many official sites can't cope with the demand on draw night when there's a large jackpot on offer. BTW, if any of you sad anoraks out there reading this know where the official Portuguese Euro Millions site (with full results info on it), please let me know...after all this time, I've never found one...
As of 9.25pm, we have the UK, Spanish and Swiss (Loterie Romande) official sites with tonight's Euro Millions winning numbers up. Both Swiss sites and the official French site are quite slow to load tonight and the French site deserves a "doubly slow" award for managing to host the draw itself in Paris and yet - as per usual - being one of the slowest official sites to put the winning numbers up. Note that Camelot's official site tends to span the two extremes most weeks - the fastest to put the winning numbers up and the often one of the slowest to put the full results (prizes/winners) up. Challenge TV's airing of the draw is 9.55pm-10.00pm tonight, but I don't have a Sky subscription any more - they have been announcing if there's a jackpot winner at the end of the show though.
Note that the official UK site was not only fast to get the winning numbers for tonight's Euro Millions up, but also they confusingly left up the "Next Est. Jackpot £125,000,000" for several minutes afterwards, only to eventually remove the monetary figure and replace it with "Unconfirmed". Meanwhile the official Swiss Site (Loterie Romande version) was coming up with "DB Error: no database selected" underneath its winning numbers on its results page at 9.09pm tonight...lovely stuff.
Well that's bizarre - I went to the official Irish site a few minutes after tonight's Euro Millions winning numbers turned up on Camelot's site (9.02pm - fast!) and the scrolling Java applet on their prize and results page said:
"There was no winner of tonight's Euro Millions jackpot. Next week's jackpot will be an estimated 180,000,000 Euros."
Surely that message should have been either removed or changed last Saturday?! "Tonight" in the message actually referred to Friday 27th January and yet was still present at 9.15pm on Friday 3rd February - yes, after the draw following the one was it was originally referring to! This initially confused me until you could work out the 180m Euros is around £125m and also they still had Friday 27th Jan's numbers and full results up. Lazy of them of not to fix the scrolling message though...
Just had a look at the access stats page for this site and new records were set for the busiest hour ever (10.00pm-11.00pm last Friday - Euro Millions results coming in - 21,258 page requests in 3,600 seconds - 6 pages a second...) and the busiest month ever (Jan 2006 - 1,565,031 pages, averaging 50,485 page requests a day). Obviously, it's the Euro Millions fever doing it, but it's nice to finally break the 1.5m page impressions barrier in a month.
At around 8.20am this morning, there was a "lottery expert" on BBC Breakfast News on BBC 1 who, despite saying that Camelot were "keeping very quiet about the Euro Millions ticket sales" (hasn't he tried the official Spanish site, who've been displaying the ticket sales since day 1 of Euro Millions?), plucked a figure of "65 million people" out of his backside w.r.t. the number of people who would be playing tonight's draw across Europe.
This encouraged me to calculate last week's ticket sales like I did a couple of weeks ago:
From the above, we can calculate the following (ignoring the Swiss - we don't know how many tickets they bought and they pay in Swiss Francs):
So if this "expert" was correct, then each player would be buying 1.74 tickets on average, at an average cost of £2.61 to each UK player, which is a bit high in my books. I wouldn't be surprised to see perhaps 135m-140m tickets purchased this week - what with sales running at 12 times their normal level - although I'd desperately like to see the jackpot remain unwon for just one more week because of Camelot's mid-run bizarro rule change about the maximum number of rollovers allowed. Note that a ticket sales level about 1.75 times the number of combinations is likely to result in a jackpot winner simply because there'll be the least number of unplayed combinations (out of the possible 76m) in a single draw ever.
Previous month: January 2006