You’d better run down to the corner shop and get those tickets bought, as the UK’s largest ever Lotto jackpot must be won this week.
The £50.4 million jackpot – which must either be won tonight or shared out on Saturday – is sending ticket sales soaring and, according to the Telegraph, National Lottery operator Camelot has said it expects to sell 200 tickets a second – or 720,000 in total – during the hour before today’s draw.
The previous highest jackpot – eventually shared by three winners, was £42 million back in 1996, but this eye-watering amount is the result of 13 consecutive rollovers and follows the number of balls in the draw increasing from 49 to 59 in October, reducing the odds on a player’s six numbers coming up from around one in 14 million to one in 45 million.
Camelot said this draw represents “some of the best odds players have ever had to win a multi-million pound life changing jackpot.” However, if no one wins on Wednesday or Saturday, Camelot will enact new regulations stipulating that it must be shared out.
But Dr John Haigh, emeritus reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, warned players not to get too excited:
The odds of winning the jackpot on Saturday by getting six numbers or five and the bonus ball would be around one in 6.5 million. People get excited by looking at the sum of money involved. But that excitement is somewhat dampened when you look at the odds involved. I’ve never bought a ticket and I’m not going to break my record now.
Well, you won’t win anything with that attitude!