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’s jackpot can pass its cap of £22 million, but it can only roll over once more afterwards. In this case, the jackpot continues to grow, but must be won in the following draw, with the top prize amount rolling down to the next winning tier if no one matches all six main numbers.
Until October 2015, Lotto had a rollover limit of four, with the jackpot having to be won in the fifth draw. When a number of Lotto changes were made in time for the draw on Saturday 10th October 2015, the initial jackpot cap was set at £50 million, but rose to £55 million after two players shared £66 million on Saturday 9th January 2016. The cap was then 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||£22 million||If the jackpot exceeds £22 million in a draw, it can roll over once more before it is either won or rolls down to the next winning prize tier.|
|Lotto Millionaire Raffle||No||£1 million||Lotto Millionaire Raffle offers one £1 million and 20 £20,000 awards in each draw. Special draws are held occasionally, with more prizes given away.|
|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.|
|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.|