Change is as good as rest! Starting October 2015 your chances of becoming a millionaire with every Lotto draw are likely to go up significantly if the changes announced by Camelot, the National Lottery Operator, are anything to place your bet on. In addition, matching any 2 numbers will win you a Lucky Dip for a future draw meaning another opportunity to be a millionaire. If this sounds too good to be true, you need to listen in to the debate pitting Camelot and some statisticians who believe the promises are just but a mirage.
The Sweeping Changes
Before delving into the heart of the debate and looking at the arguments raised by each side, it is important to look at the changes in the pipeline. The main change brought in by Camelot involves an increase in the numbers you can choose from. Lotto players initially chose 6 numbers from a pool of 49 which will now change to 59 as from October. This change has been hailed as a transformative move by Camelot to create more millionaires than ever before. However, the increase in the pool of numbers to 59 does not change the way you play your lucky numbers. Your cost of playing will also remain unchanged at £2 a line.
When asked why these changes were necessary barely 2 years after the previous changes in 2013, Camelot argued the changes made in 2013 were purposely to re-invigorate the Lotto which had remained unchanged for 20years as well as to deliver millions to fund the National Lottery’s Good Cause projects which to date have received over £33 billion. The 2013 changes have already raised £250 million since they were instituted. The changes coming into effect in October 2015 however, are part of an agenda to create more millionaires, make the Lotto Millionaire Raffle exciting, and the nation’s favorite game.
Increased Odds and More Winners
The Millionaire Raffle to be introduced guarantees at least one winner of a whopping £1 million for every draw and 20 assured prizes of £20,000. The Millionaire Raffle will take place the same day as the Lotto draw where a total of 21 raffle numbers will be chosen. The £1 million will be drawn first, then the second tier of 20 prizes will follow.
Instead of 1 in 54, the overall odds of winning any cash prize will be 1 to 9.3 which statistically means higher chances of walking away with a prize courtesy of the increase in number pool size. The overall odds of becoming a millionaire which refers to the joint odds of winning £1million or the Jackpot on the Lotto Millionaire Raffle on an average week will increase from the current 1 in 14 million to 1 in 10 million.
The Free Lucky Dip
The introduction of the Free Lotto Lucky Dip which is not there currently will create about 1.8 million winners bringing the total winners each week to approximately two million. The manner in which the Lucky Dip will operate is simple; if you purchase your lottery ticket from a National Lottery Retailer, you will present your winning ticket to the retailer who will then give you the opportunity to receive a free Lotto Lucky Dip for the next Saturday or Wednesday Lotto Draw.
Where the ticket purchase is done online, your free Lucky dip will be entered automatically into the coming draw regardless of whether it is Wednesday or Saturday. You will then be notified through mail once you have been entered into the draw. Your online account page will also have a record of your Lucky Dip tickets.
The Contra-Argument by Statisticians
According to Robert Mastrodomenico, a statistician, the promises of more millionaires notwithstanding, the odds of matching all the six balls fall to 1 in 45,057,474 from the current 1 in 13,983,816. This will make it much more difficult for a player to strike the jackpot than it is currently.
Dr John Haigh, a University of Sussex emeritus reader in mathematics, concurs with Robert Mastrodomenico’s argument on the reduced changes of winning the jackpot following the increase in pool size by 10 balls. However, in an interesting twist of reasoning, he points out that the reduced odds of winning the jackpot make the amount higher for the player(s) who ultimately wins it. The increased number of rollovers he says will also create excitement.
David Hodge, a mathematician and statistics lecturer from the University of Nottingham argues that slimmer chances exist for winning any other cash prize. Speaking to the BBC, Mr. Hodge said increasing the pool size from 49 to 59 almost halves the Lotto players’ current chance of winning a cash prize. He estimates the drop in chances of winning any monetary prize to between 40 and 50 percent. He pointed out that people play for various reasons and if some of those reasons include giving money to charity and playing for fun then the new rules may be worth a try.
That said; the reality on whether the changes are beneficial or not will be evident when Camelot finally launches the new Lotto Millionaire Raffle in October on a date yet to be announced. Hopefuls are crossing their fingers that the promised innovations and success will be tangible enough for every Lotto player.