There has certainly been no attempt to downplay the significance of the changes, with the Daily Mirror reporting that the National Lottery is preparing to ‘blow apart the way millions choose their Lotto numbers’ by giving players and syndicates 59 numbers to choose from rather than 49. The price of a ticket will remain the same and Dr John Haigh, emeritus reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, can see why the tweaks have been made.
He said in the Daily Mail: “Because the chance of winning the jackpot is lower, when you do win the amount will be higher. This will also mean a lot more rollovers, and they create excitement. I expect Camelot will see this as an exciting feature.”
The chances of landing a seven-figure windfall will be better due to the new Millionaire Raffle, which promises to create one winner of £1 million in every Lotto draw, but the odds of winning the jackpot are set to lengthen to 1 in 45 million. Statistician Robert Mastrodomenico has pointed out that any player hoping to become a multi-millionaire shouldn’t get their hopes up too high. He told the Daily Telegraph: “Whilst the spin is that we will see more millionaires, the reality is that the chance of winning the big one has become less likely.”
Organisers have defended the changes as they bid to create more winners and raise more money for good causes. In a statement reported by Sky News, Camelot said: “Although more numbers to choose from means the odds on the existing prize tiers will lengthen, players will win more often, have more chances than ever to become a millionaire and will have the chance of winning huge rolling jackpots, which we know they love.”
The last time changes were made to Lotto was in 2013, and Camelot chief executive Andy Duncan is confident the future of the game will be brighter than ever. He said in the Daily Mirror: “Lotto has enjoyed two years of consecutive growth since we reinvigorated the game in 2013 and has already delivered over £250 million more to Good Causes than if we had done nothing to change the game.”