When EuroMillions began in 2004, there was a limit of 12 rollovers before the jackpot rolled down to the next winning prize tier. In November 2009, the rules changed to introduce a jackpot cap of €185 million (£146 million today), no matter how many rollovers it had taken to reach that amount. There was a clause which stated that as soon as that cap was attained, it would then rise to €190 million. This occurred in July 2011 when Colin and Christine Weir from Largs in Scotland scooped €185 million on the second draw with the jackpot at that amount, pushing the cap up another €5 million in the process.
The decision was made on 12th January 2012 to permanently cap the jackpot at €190 million (£150 million today), even if the limit was reached again.
When the jackpot reaches the €190 million mark, which it will on Friday should no one win tonight, it may stay at that level for two draws before rolling down to the winners in the next prize tier. In a draw with the top prize at the jackpot cap, any ticket money that would have been added to the jackpot is also rolled down, meaning that you could win millions of pounds without even having to match all of the numbers!
The cap has caused controversy amongst many players who would prefer to see the size of jackpots available for the big American lotteries - Powerball and Mega Millions, the latter having peaked in 2012 at $656 million! Some feel that the momentum and excitement of a long run of rollovers is spoilt by the top prize stalling and the anticipation of a huge payout significantly tempered by being replaced by a larger number of lower prizes, albeit with many of them still in the multi-million range.
A spokesman for Camelot, which runs EuroMillions in the UK, sees it very differently, “EuroMillions is all about creating big winners and the nine countries (and 10 operators) which run the game believe the jackpot cap (and that fact that it can only roll once) does just that. So, rather than rolling and remaining unwon indefinitely, EuroMillions creates huge levels of excitement because players know that the jackpot must be won – either outright or, if it rolls down, by players at the next winning prize level (meaning potentially lots of multi-millionaires here in the UK)”.
It has also been suggested that it is a diplomatic measure to appease those who worry about people spending too much money in the pursuit of a nine-figure jackpot, although that point suggests, by definition, that the base jackpot of £11 million (€15 million) isn’t a huge amount of money, which it most definitely is!
For more information on this subject, there is a dedicated EuroMillions Jackpot Cap page at Euro-Millions.com.
Tickets are still on sale for tonight’s gigantic jackpot and you can get hold of them online or from authorised retailers. Perhaps you can grab the lot tonight and make all of this debate about the jackpot cap meaningless anyway!