- Wednesday 28th October
Bought one additional ticket online for next Saturday's main Lotto
single rollover draw.
- Saturday 24th October
It turned out that the free Lucky Dip I "won" last Wednesday didn't even match
a single number in tonight's draw, proving predictably worthless as a so-called
"prize". Although you can pick which of the next 2 draws (Sat or Wed) that your
free Lucky Dip is played in, you have to do this prior to the draw where you
"win" your Lucky Dip. This is because as soon as that draw takes place, the
exact draw your Lucky Dip is played in is determined immediately based on your
prefs at the time of the draw and the free ticket play is fixed to that date.
This means that, say, you allocate "next Saturday" to play the Lucky Dip
and then you "win" a free Lucky Dip on a Saturday draw, then your Lucky Dip
will be played in the following Saturday draw. What you can't do is go
into your prefs on the Sunday after you "won" the Lucky Dip and change
the prefs to "next Wednesday" to force your Lucky Dip to be played on the
next Wednesday draw. That prefs change only applies to future Lucky
Dip tickets and not ones you've just "won". I suspect this is to stop what
I was planning: alternating the day allocation to extend the Lucky Dip
beyond one week.
- Sunday 18th October
Bought one additional ticket online for next Wednesday's main Lotto double
rollover draw. It's the first time I've "only" bought two tickets (rather
than three) in total for a double rollover draw in a long time.
Added more code to handle the output of "quintuple" for 5 consecutive rollover
draws, just in case the jackpot isn't won next Wednesday and Saturday :-)
It's interesting how the first three draws have all had purple (50-59) balls
and all three have resulted in unwon jackpots. It does lend credence to the
theory that purple balls don't have as much coverage as other colours as
a fair chunk of players will have stuck with their old (non-purple) numbers.
- Wednesday 14th October
Bought one additional ticket online for tonight's main Lotto rollover. I thought
long and hard about this and decided on two changes in my additional
ticket policy for rollovers:
- I will no longer buy 2 additional tickets online for a double rollover,
3 additional tickets for a triple and so on. I will buy one ticket via
Direct Debit (the same ticket I've always had) and then only one additional
ticket online for any rollover regardless of the number of times the draws have
rolled over. The logic behind this is that it's now 3.22 times harder to win
the jackpot than before, so this implies there'll also be three times
as many rollovers (i.e. more rollovers than normal draws).
- I feel that there will be a load of people who will stick to their
old numbers (I have on my first ticket), so the second ticket should
probably include a number between 50-59 to try to win the jackpot without
sharing it. I added 10 to one of my numbers on my "old" second ticket
to bring it into that range and I deliberately avoided the number 57
(Heinz varieties - people might go for that...).
One tip here - you really don't want to be buying main Lotto tickets offline
any more (you should have stopped already long ago when the £20 grand
raffle started). If you buy offline, there's big disadvantages:
- You might forget to buy a ticket completely - online purchases can be
made automatically via Direct Debit if you are willing play the same numbers
for every draw.
- You might lose your ticket or get it destroyed (e.g. in a washing
machine) and I bet no-one ever writes their name and address on the back
(so anyone who finds it can claim the prize it's won - though if it's a
large prize they will know which terminal sold it, so you might get
- You might forget to check your main Lotto numbers and if they're
Lucky Dip, you'll not have memorised them either.
- The BBC don't show the £20 grand raffle numbers - you can only
check them online (and if you can go online, why didn't you buy the
ticket online as well?).
- You might not realise that a 2-match wins a free Lucky Dip and even
if you did, you may forget to go and claim the Lucky Dip for the next
- Camelot will e-mail you if you win a prize via an online ticket and
will credit your account with the winnings automatically - neither of
these things happen if you play offline though.
Had a bit of trouble with the raffle numbers tonight - I'd stupidly
looked for "prizes of" as the string to indicate the number of raffle
prizes and raffle prize amount on the results page. This worked on
Saturday because there were plural numbers of raffle winners but tonight's
only had one millionaire raffle winner, so the string didn't match.
I corrected it to "prize.* of" and then the code correctly updated
the raffle data files and generated the pages with the raffle numbers
Bought one additional main Lotto ticket online for next Saturday's main Lotto
double rollover draw. Interestingly, both last Saturday's and tonight's
main Lotto draws had purple (>=50) balls in them, which may go towards
explaining why neither draws' jackpots were won (people sticking with
their old - aka <= 49 - numbers).
- Tuesday 13th October
Finally automated the grabbing of the Millionaire Raffle data from
the official site for the new main Lotto. I now have a data file for
that Millionaire Raffle and then revamped the code that read the
"normal" raffle numbers to be able to also read the new data file.
The script that grabs the raffle data was also modified to be able
to grab either the millionaire or normal version of the raffle data.
It's all on one page on the official site so using last Saturday's draw
as an example, I just filter out the 45 lines containing the raffle numbers
and then "head -25" to get the millionaire data and "tail -20" to get
the normal data. It's obviously slightly trickier than this because
I have to remove a lot of HTML cruft from each line as well.
I'm now scraping the Match 2 Lucky Dip figure from the official site
and including it in my data file (I manually transcribed it for last
Saturday's draw). This should have now completed the revised auto-scraping
for the new main Lotto.
- Sunday 11th October
Got up this morning and at least Camelot had finally updated the main Lotto
number of winners/prizes - it was definitely after 1.30am at least. Belatedly
realised that the prize calculation formula had changed of course and it's
much worse now - the percentage of the prize fund allocated to 5-match and
5+bonus is now disgustingly low and it's now hugely tilted (83.2% - by far
the highest ever) to the jackpot tier.
I initially got the reverse sales calculations wrong for the new prize
structure because although my formula worked with just adjusted tier
percentages, I completely misread the game procedures. It isn't 47.5%
of ticket sales that gets allocated to the total prize pool (that's the
first figure I read and was close to the percentage from the old
structure) and the 3-match prizes are not deducted from
the prize pool calculations before the variable tier prizes are involved
(they used to be with the old prize structure).
It turns out only 17.82% of ticket sales are now allocated to the total
prize pool (this is excluding the 3-match prizes remember) and there's a
separate 6.93% of sales going to the Millionaire Raffle prizes. I'm assuming
the remaining 22.75% go into the Reserve Fund, though the rules aren't super
clear on that.
Added in the 2-match tier on the individual draw page with very little fanfare.
I don't state it "wins" a free Lucky Dip ticket for the next draw and I also
refuse to include the "winners" in the grand total number of winners because
that figure is for winners of actual cash prizes, not this bogus free Lucky Dip nonsense.
Remember that the "prize" does not apply to this draw, but to a future
one, so should not be included in any prize totals at all for this draw.
Camelot's mathematics for their Saturday main Lotto prize breakdown
are now so appalling, the table has four glaring errors in it:
- The Match 6 "Prize per winner" was £5,279,697, not £0.
- In the Match 6 row, 0 "No of winners" multiplied by £0 "Prize per winner"
somehow becomes £5,279,697. This has been 100% incorrect for all
unwon jackpot prize breakdown tables for as long as I can remember. It's done
to incorrectly boost the Totals line figure at the bottom of the table and is
- The Match 2 "Prize per winner" is stated as a "Free Lotto Lucky Dip", but this
is for a future draw and no "Prize per winner" should be stated for
this draw (i.e. at best it's "£0" for this draw).
- Somehow and completely incorrectly, the Match 2 "Prize per winner" is
implicitly set to £2 for this draw. This means that apparently the 1,519,930
free Lucky Dips for a future draw are worth £3,039,8690 for the Prize Fund
for this draw - unbelievable!
All of this dubious mathematical bamboozling allows Camelot to incredulously
claim that there were £38.2m of cash prizes awarded in yesterday's draw.
The real figure is actually £29.9m - the rest is just awful smoke and
mirrors from Camelot. I've no idea how they can get away with blatantly lying
about prize pool figures!
- Saturday 10th October
Didn't get around to coding the data file for the £1m raffle prizes
yet, so just transcribed them from frozen stills of the TV show (which
crazily listed them in random order and in separated batches of 5, 10 and 10 -
go figure). I kept manually checking the official site's draw history
(which is the one my scraper checks too),
not realising that Camelot had
put up the winning numbers
and raffle ticket numbers only on their
Yep I had to manually transcribe the 20-grand raffle prizes from that page
because of this.
Worse was to come as midnight passed and no prizes/winners
for the main Lotto had been published by then - not good for their revamped
main Lotto draw! It admittedly didn't help that the TV shows aired at
10.00pm and also refused to air the Thunderball live - they'd have had
time if two awful "performances" from some song and dance troupe hadn't
- Friday 9th October
Somewhat belatedly started coding for the additional 10 balls for
tomorrow's main lotto draw and the other various game changes that are
happening. In no particular order are these tasks:
- Change maximum ball number from 49 to 59. (Done)
- Generate light purple ImageMagick miff-format balls for
numbers 50 to 59 (with and without bonus ball message).
Proved a bit tricky until I installed a couple of fonts on my
Linux desktop and activated them with "xset +fp". (Done)
- Change ticket encoding to include numbers above 52 (upper and
lower case A-Z only cover 26*2 numbers of course) - now using "3"-"9" to
mean 53-59). (Done)
- Adjust Number Palace
stats for the numbers 50-59 so that after
tomorrow's draw, it won't claim those numbers haven't appeared
for 2,066 consecutive draws :-) (Done)
- Main Lotto results auto-grabber must now allow balls 50-59. (Done)
- Update strategy to mention
balls 50-59 (I'd say include at least one for a while, but with
Lucky Dip and first-time players, 50-59 will get coverage quickly
- Display 2-match info, which "wins" a free Lucky Dip ticket. I won't
be including the 2-match "winners" in the total number of winners though
because it isn't a cash prize and any actual monetary win would be in the next
draw and not this one. I really am annoyed with Camelot claiming that this
is a "prize" when it clearly isn't. It's extremely devious and
highly unethical to do this in order to claim there's "more winners" and
"better odds of winning", when in terms of cash prizes, it's far, far worse
odds/number of cash winners now. (Done)
- Auto-grab 2-match "winners" figure from official site. (Done)
- Use a data file-based Millionaire Raffle system rather than
horribly hard-coded HTML of winning tickets that I've previously
used. I already have a data file for the 20-grand raffles, so the code just
needs to be dual-purposed. (Done)
- Update wheeling challenge to deal with 59 balls.
(Low priority task)
- Update draw simulation software
to cope with 59 balls, 2-match "winners", £2 for a ticket
nd even the £25 3-match prize that
was introduced ages ago (I'd set the limit to £20 thinking that
3-match couldn't possibly go higher...). (Low priority task)
- Monday 5th October
Bought an additional ticket online for next Wednesday's main Lotto
single rollover draw. Yes, it's my last ever additional ticket for the
49-ball version of the game.