Time to Tear Down those Balls

Some lotteries are easier to win than others. At present, the Irish Lotto jackpot is proving extremely difficult to win. It’s reached the stage that there have been calls for an audit and investigation into the draw due to the fact no one has won the jackpot in six months.

Draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday but the last time the top prize was won was on June 6. The jackpot cap was reached in September and since then the jackpot has remained at just over €19 million.

Now Bernard Durkan, who is the Fine Gael TD for Kildare North has called for a full investigation and audit into the Lotto draw. He is against the fact that the number of balls have been increased to 47. In 1986, there were only 36 balls in the draw. “That’s how it should have stayed said Mr Durkan.

He has called for Andrew Algeo, the chief executive of Premier Lotteries Ireland (who were awarded a 20-year license in 2014), to reduce the number of balls in the draw. The TD believes that this would “be a mark of good faith” and also “make the draw more winnable.” Paraphrasing a comment made by President Reagan at the Berlin Wall, he declared: “Mr Algaeo, tear down those balls.”

He added that a full audit would be “in the interests of public confidence” and also called for a return of an independent observer.” In the past Kennedy Crowley from KPMG Stokes used to stand at the side of the draw machine and keep an eye on proceedings.

Mr Durkan is not alleging that “anything odd has happened.” However, this is the longest run without a jackpot win and believes “a bit of reassurance” is required. The TD concluded by claiming that the prospects of winning are so remote that “punters must be thinking Shergar would have a better chance at winning Squid Game.”

It is a bit of a mystery why the jackpot hasn’t been won since June. While the Irish Lotto draw has 47 balls, the UK version of the game has 59 and that regularly sees the top prize being won. One possible idea is to copy the UK Lotto and introduce the must-be-won draw after a certain number of rollovers.

If two balls were taken away, then the odds of winning the jackpot would be increased by over 20%. That’s according to Eamonn Toland from TheMathsTutor.ie.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery said that this 23-week rollover is unprecedented. However, since 2015, 80% of Lotto jackpots had been won within a space of just seven weeks and there has been no change in the odds of winning. Rather than this barren run concerning players, the spokesperson believes it has “generated a huge amount of excitement across the country.”

Since the jackpot cap was reached, 179 players have won the second and third tier prizes, winning approximately €12.69 million in additional prize money due to the jackpot prize roll down. The most recent draw saw two players both win €384,261