Lottery rollovers happen when there is no winner in a draw, which means that the funds that made up the jackpot are added to the prize fund for the jackpot offered in the following draw. Some lotteries offer a set jackpot that never rolls, others have a jackpot cap or a rollover limit and some games, like Powerball in the US and SuperEnalotto in Italy, can continue to grow until someone wins, often creating gigantic prizes.
Why Do Lotteries Have Rollovers?
Rollovers increase the value of the jackpot available to win from a lottery, adding to the excitement of the game. As the total of the top prize rises, it gains more and more attention and players can dream bigger about how they would spend the accumulated award.
How Do Rollovers Affect Ticket Sales?
Larger jackpots are more enticing to both dedicated and casual lottery players as they offer the chance to win an unimaginable amount of money. The surrounding publicity can lead to more people discussing the game with friends and colleagues than usual and often leads to special one-off syndicates being organised to try to take advantage of the improved odds of winning prizes that come with playing in a group.
On 6th January 2016, the Lotto jackpot reached £52.9 million following a run of 15 rollovers and, when no one matched all six main numbers, the jackpot rolled again. The jackpot for the following draw was estimated to reach £57.8 million based on the percentage of ticket proceeds designated to the top prize tier but, due to the huge award on offer and coverage in the media, sales increased so much the eventual jackpot for the next draw was actually £66 million. The prize was shared between David and Carol Martin from Hawick in the Scottish Borders and an anonymous player who bought their ticket in Worcester.
What Happens When a Jackpot Cap is Reached?
The procedure for when a lottery hits its jackpot cap differs between the various games. When EuroMillions reaches €190 million, the jackpot stays at that amount and any extra funds that would have boosted it higher are shared between players in the next winning prize tier. It can only roll over three times at the cap and if there is no winner in the fourth draw, the full amount is shared between the players located in the highest prize tier with winners.
Lotto has a rollover limit rather than a jackpot cap, so that there can only be a maximum of five consecutive draws without a winner. Once there have been five rollovers in a row, there is a Must Be Won draw and the jackpot rolls down if there still aren’t any Match 6 winners. In a rolldown, the jackpot funds are split between every other player who has won a cash prize.
A jackpot cap had previously been in place on Lotto before a number of changes were made in November 2018. The cap had initially been set at £50 million when it was introduced in October 2015, and would allow one more rollover once this figure had been passed. The cap was raised to £55 million after two players shared £66 million on Saturday 9th January 2016, before being reset to £22 million in the summer of 2016.
This table shows how rollovers work in each of the lotteries featured on National-Lottery.com:
|Lottery||Does the Jackpot Roll Over?||Jackpot Cap||What Happens When the Limit is Reached?|
|Lotto||Yes||Limit of five rollovers||A Must Be Won draw is held after five consecutive rollovers. If no ticket matches all six main numbers, a ‘rolldown’ occurs and the jackpot is split between all players in the Match 3, 4, 5 and 5 + Bonus tiers.|
|EuroMillions||Yes||€190 million||Once the jackpot has reached €190 million, the top prize will remain at this value for a maximum of four draws. If the jackpot is not won in the fourth draw, the funds roll down and are shared between players in the next winning prize tier.|
|Millionaire Maker||N/A||£1 million||This is a supplementary game available to UK players of EuroMillions. Under normal circumstances there are two £1 million prizes given out in each EuroMillions draw, but that number can increase substantially on special occasions such as Mega Week.|
|EuroMillions HotPicks||No||£1,000,000||EuroMillions HotPicks prizes are fixed for each tier, so the jackpot is always worth £1 million.|
|Thunderball||No||£500,000||Thunderball has a set jackpot of £500,000 per draw.|
|Lotto HotPicks||No||£350,000||Lotto HotPicks prizes are always fixed, with the top prize worth £350,000.|
|Health Lottery||No||£100,000||The Health Lottery jackpot does not roll over and is set depending on ticket sales, with a maximum of £100,000 on offer.|