Discover the stories behind the biggest Lotto wins in history. The game has created thousands of millionaires since it started in 1994 and the top 10 jackpots, as well details about the lucky winners, are all covered below.
Winners: David and Carol Martin, Anonymous
The biggest Lotto jackpot in history was won at a time when the rules of the game allowed the top prize to exceed £50 million before it had to be won. The jackpot rolled 15 times before it was split between two ticket holders on Saturday 9th January 2016.
David and Carol Martin from Hawick in the Scottish Borders stepped forward a few days later to claim half of the jackpot, revealing that they would use the money to take early retirement and help flood victims in the local community.
The other £33 million prize initially remained unclaimed, leading the National Lottery to reveal that the ticket had been sold in Worcester. Hundreds of people appealed, including a much-publicised claim from grandmother Susanne Hinte, who said her ticket had been ruined in the washing machine. Eventually, though, the mystery was solved when someone claimed the money anonymously.
Little more than a year after the National Lottery launched in November 1994, the game – which did not become known as Lotto until 2002 – offered a jackpot of more than £42 million. The top prize had previously not rolled over more than once in a row, and the demand for tickets was so high that it just took two draws without a winner to produce this huge jackpot. Three players matched all the numbers to receive £14 million each, while there were more than 2.3 million winning tickets across all the prize tiers.
Winners: John McGuinness, Jackie Greene and two others
Just three weeks after a £42 million jackpot was given away, the top prize was back above £40 million following a couple of rollovers. This time there were four lucky winners, each scooping more than £10 million. One of the tickets belonged to John McGuiness from Scotland, who celebrated in style by flying on Concorde to New York, splashing out on luxury cars and following his beloved Celtic around the world.
Another winner, Jackie Greene, found out she had won while watching the lottery results at her local pub in Manchester. Remarkably, Jackie – the niece of Coronation Street actor Michael ‘Kevin Webster’ Le Vell – was not the first of the pub’s customers to win the lottery. The jackpot would not climb to such levels again for another 20 years.
This draw set a record for the largest Lotto win on a single ticket, after the jackpot had climbed past £35 million on the back of six and a half weeks without a winner. Following 12 consecutive rollovers, there was just one winning entry on 6th April 2016. The big winner staked their claim just a couple of days later and decided to stay anonymous, so no more details were ever disclosed about the identity of the player who received a bigger payout than anyone else who has ever purchased a Lotto ticket.
Winners: Gerry and Lisa Cannings
Gerry saw a poster advertising Lotto at a fish and chip shop in the Slough area and decided to buy five Lucky Dips for the next draw. Gerry and his wife, Lisa, quickly found out they had won but waited a week to come forward as they were decorating the house. “It did mean that Gerry had to carry round the winning ticket in his wallet all week. It was quite nerve-wracking,” said Lisa.
The couple, who were both teachers, added that it ‘didn’t seem real’ when they realised they had won and that family members took a long time to be convinced. They said they would buy a new home, go on a family holiday to New Zealand and upgrade their Skoda Octavia to a Skoda Superb or a Volvo so that Gerry could fit his golf clubs in the boot.
Winners: Robert and Joan Edmiston, Martin Proctor and seven others
A special Super Draw promotion in the previous draw had helped to boost the jackpot and after one rollover a top prize of more than £30 million was put up for grabs. This made it the biggest Wednesday jackpot since a midweek draw was added in February 1997. Nine players were able to match all six winning numbers, banking more than £3.3 million each.
Dorking banker Martin Proctor discovered he had won a share of the jackpot when he checked Teletext that evening, allowing him to immediately set his sights on a new dream house with a swimming pool. Robert and Joan Edmiston, pub owners from Oldham, also came forward to pick up £3.3 million, declaring that they would start with a long cruise while they decided how to spend the rest of their winnings.
Three players grabbed a share of this massive jackpot without even matching all six main numbers. Under the rules at the time, the top prize could only roll over one more time after passing £22 million, then it had to be won. When there were no Match 6 winners in the draw on 3rd October 2018, the three ticket holders who matched five main balls plus the Bonus all received £8.8 million.
The top prize had to be won in this New Year’s Eve draw following a run of rollovers dating back to 26th November, having surpassed its jackpot cap in the previous draw. A single player scooped the lot after matching five numbers and the Bonus Ball, becoming one of the biggest Lotto winners in history despite not actually predicting all six main numbers. The winner chose not to go public, so no more information was released about where the ticket was sold or whether it belonged to a syndicate or an individual.
A single ticket holder matched all six main numbers in this Must Be Won draw – had they not won, the jackpot would have rolled down to players in the next winning tier. The jackpot cap had been triggered after there were no winners of the £24.2 million draw in the draw on Saturday 15th October. The winner came forward quickly to have their ticket validated and the National Lottery confirmed they had chosen to stay anonymous.
Two players picked up more than £12.7 million each in a draw where the jackpot was guaranteed to be won. They received the eight-figure payouts for matching five main numbers plus the Bonus Ball, as there were no winners in the top tier. Both winners decided to remain anonymous when they came forward to collect their prizes.