It’s been more than 60 draws since winning the Irish Lotto, but someone will surely win Saturday’s jackpot of €19.06m after the National Lottery received regulatory approval to make a ‘must-have’ draw.
So, if, as has happened with every lottery drawing since June, no ticket holder matches the first six numbers in the drawing, he will fall back into the next higher prize category – five numbers and the bonus, and so on until a winner is found.
The odds are still not in the gambler’s favor when it comes to Saturday night’s jackpot chances but they’re still much better than they used to be, according to mathematician Dr Michael Cronin, who lectures at University College Cork.
While the odds of matching the first six were in the region of 10.7 million to one, it’s now roughly 1.8m for one of matching five numbers plus the bonus – which is actually similar to the odds of winning Pluto when it was originally launched in 1987.
“Your odds have decreased sixfold,” he said.
The main prize of 19 million euros has been set since the beginning of October, and Dr Cronin said the chances of not winning the lottery for a long time are not as remote as they might seem.
He said: “By my calculations, in the framework of 47 match balls six matches and there have been about 663 draws since it was introduced [in 2015], the chance of a barren spell of this length is about 1/32 or 1/33. So that’s a big difference. »
He said that a 33/1 chance of over time is likely to occur when an event such as the lottery is held as frequently as the lottery, despite how unlikely that is.
So let’s break down people’s chances of winning the must-have tie on Saturday night.
Under normal circumstances, the mathematician said, the chances of matching the first six numbers to win the regular jackpot are about 10.7 million to one.
Since each Lotto ticket must contain at least two lines, this means that each ticket holder has at least 5.3 meters for one chance to win the lottery.
But, since the winner may be the one who matches five numbers plus the bonus, this reduces the odds dramatically.
« With two lines, your odds are 900,000/1, » Dr. Cronin said.
“It’s like that back when we had the original 36-digit game. [when lottery launched in 1987]. »
The mathematician stressed that these better odds « can’t be indulged at all, » given that the odds are still very high.
He added that over the past 37 draws, no one has matched five plus bonus on 41% of those draws.
But, due to the potential increase in the number of people who buy a Lotto card for this raffle, the chance of being won by someone who matches five numbers plus the bonus is “almost certain”.
He said that if those who match five plus the bonus win the jackpot, there are not likely to be many winners who will share the €19m price tag.
Likewise, the chances of someone winning Pluto outright – by matching the first six numbers – will actually be higher tonight given the expected increase in ticket sales.
« It would be ironic if that happened, » Dr. Cronin added.
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