Ireland National Lottery Must-Win Rule Appears Just as Winner Found

Posted on: January 17, 2022, 07:20h. 

Last updated on: January 17, 2022, 10:30h.

An idea being floated to force a winner of the National Lottery of Ireland wasn’t needed this past weekend. The lottery broke its 62-draw drought with a winner.

National Lottery of Ireland
An example of a ticket for the National Lottery of Ireland. After a 62-draw drought, a jackpot winner finally emerged this past Saturday. (Image:

June 9, 2021, was the last time someone took home the top prize in the National Lottery of Ireland. Since then, 62 draws have taken place, and not one awarded the top prize. That had the operator of the lottery calling for a “must-win” rule to be implemented. It was approved just ahead of the Saturday draw, but wasn’t necessary. Somebody won the lottery without the handicap.

National Lottery Capped as No Winner Found

Most big lotteries, like the Powerball in the US, continue to see their top prize build if there aren’t any winners. This isn’t the case in Ireland, however. After weeks turned into months and no winner was found, the top prize was frozen at €19.06 million (US$21.74 million) on October 2 of last year.

A single ticket reportedly matched all the correct numbers in Saturday’s draw. The winning combination of 2, 9, 16, 30, 37, 40 and a bonus number 23 appeared in the city of Castlebar.

The city is home to other big lottery winners. Notably, a €15-million (US$17.11 million) EuroMillions winner in 2014 and a €29-million (US$33.1 million) EuroMillions winner in July 2019. A year later, a €17-million (US$19.4 million) ticket was sold there as well.

This latest draw was only slightly larger than the biggest ever recorded for the National Lottery of Ireland. In 2008, a group of workers at the Dan Morrissey quarry and concrete plant collected €18.6 million (US$21.22 million).

Lottery Debate Only Cranking Up

The “must-win” rule had been thrown around since December. The lottery’s operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland, approached the Office of the Lottery Regulator, asking for the rule change.

There was concern that going too long without a jackpot winner could make some people less interested in playing. However, this is only the case because the lottery is capped and doesn’t continue to roll over like the Powerball.

At the time, the regulator didn’t believe the rule change was necessary. It wanted to study the issue more before making a decision. Heading into Saturday’s draw, the decision had been made.

If no one would have taken the jackpot, the top prize would have gone to the ticket, or tickets, that correctly chose five numbers and the bonus ball. They would have all split the €19.06 million.

It’s interesting that a winning combination arrived just as the must-win rule was implemented. To some, it may be more than just a coincidence.

A Closer Look at the Lottery Likely Coming

Irish legislator Bernard Durkan wants to see changes made to the lottery. The Irish Post highlights his stance, pointing out that the win emerged “as a result of the National Lottery’s response to the questions raised by the general public.”

The politician also believes there should be “one or two winners” during any six-month period in order to give people more incentive to play.

The lottery draw is meant to be completely random, something no one can control. The timing of the win and the implementation of the new rule shouldn’t be anything more than a happy coincidence. It should also be impossible to have a “guaranteed” winner in a six-month period.

Durkan also believes that it would be a good idea to have 20 tickets that win €1 million (US$1.14 million) each, instead of one ticket that wins, for example, €20 million (US$22.8 million).

Regardless of his position, it’s likely that the lottery will be scrutinized. Gaming activity of all kinds is under the microscope in countries around the world. This is particularly true in Ireland, and the timing is right for a lottery review to take place.