The National Lottery could see an unprecedented rush for tickets this week at the prospect of a major jackpot win on far lower odds than normal.
Wednesday’s National Lottery jackpot will be the largest ever at more than £50 million – which would normally be enough to lure in extra players on its own.
But under new rules which may be triggered for the first time since their introduction in October, if the main draw sees a 14th successive rollover Saturday’s Lotto could see odds slashed.
If no-one wins the mid-week jackpot or the Saturday draw, the full jackpot will trickle down to the next tier of players, with five numbers and the bonus ball.
The predicted £50.4 million jackpot is the highest in the Lotto game for 19 years – although higher jackpots have been seen in Euromillions and one-off games.
A spokeswoman for Camelot, the National Lottery operator, said: “The largest Lotto jackpot the nation has ever seen is waiting to be won by someone in the UK.
“If a single ticketholder wins Wednesday’s estimated £50.4m jackpot, they will be the biggest Lotto jackpot winner ever.”
She added: “If the jackpot is not taken on Wednesday and exceeds £50 million, as predicted, then it needs to be won.
“If there is no jackpot winner on Saturday, too, the jackpot fund will roll down to the next tier where there is at least one winner.
“So, it will roll down to five numbers plus the bonus ball, and if no-one wins at that level, it will then trickle down to the next one.”
The odds of winning the jackpot are normally 1:42 million whereas matching five numbers plus the bonus ball carries odds of 1:7.5 million.
Excitement around the unusual circumstances of this week’s draw could push the prize fund even higher.
The previous highest jackpot was £42 million jackpot in 1996 – which was shared by three winners.
In terms of biggest winners in the history of the National Lottery, the highest individual Lotto win is currently Iris Jeffrey, from Belfast, who scooped £20.1 million in 2004.
Work colleagues Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison from Hastings, East Sussex, shared £22.5 million in 1996.
The Camelot spokeswoman said: “If a single ticket-holder wins Wednesday’s jackpot, they will immediately smash both of these records.”
Camelot rules introduced in October say: “The Lotto jackpot can rollover over until it reaches or exceeds £50 million.
“If it isn’t won when it reaches or exceeds this amount, the entire jackpot will roll to the next Lotto draw and must be won in that draw.”
The last Lotto win was in mid-November and there have since been 13 rollovers including the whole of December.
Other Lottery games have seen larger prize-funds.
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