Lotto rules out changes to playing structure amid ‘healthy sales’

Comments come amid speculation that its sister franchise in UK plans to revamp format

The National Lottery says it has no plans to change the current game structure and that ticket sales were continuing to improve.

It was responding to speculation that the franchise in Britain, which is owned by the same group, may be about to cut ticket prices and reduce the panel of balls to chose from in a bid to halt a decline in sales.

UK lotto sales have tanked since operator Camelot increased the number of balls in the draw from 49 to 59, which reduced the chance of scooping the jackpot from one in 14 million to one in 45 million, a move that proved unpopular with punters.

The decline has prompted Camelot to conduct a strategic review of its playing structure. Because Camelot and Irish operator Premier Lotteries Ireland are owned by the same group - Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, there has been speculation that similar changes might be considered here.


However, a National Lottery spokeswoman said the franchise had no plans to tweak the current format.

“Irish National Lottery sales are healthy and we are currently happy with our flagship Lotto game so have no plans to make any changes,” she said, noting that sales figures for 2016, to be published in September, would be up on the previous year.

“The new game and increased jackpot rollovers have generated huge player interest. Players are enjoying the increased jackpot levels and new game innovations,” she said.

“A review of the lotto game structure is not being considered at this time,” she added.

The National Lottery revamped its model here in 2015, raising ticket prices and increasing the panel of balls to select from.

By upping the spend on tickets and lengthening the odds of winning outright, the lotto hopes to generate more €10 million plus jackpots, which typically trigger a big uptick in sales.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times