Minimum cost of playing National Lottery to rise to €4

Changes to mean two additional numbers added to playslip for a 47-number format

The cost of playing the National Lottery is to rise for the first time in nine years as part of a series of changes being introduced by the new operator.

From next month, the price of a minimum two-line play will increase from €3 to €4.

It means when the extra Lotto Plus option is included, tickets for the twice-weekly draws will now cost €5.

The changes will also see two new numbers added to the playslip for a 47-number format, significantly lessening players’ chances of winning the jackpot.


Currently the odds of picking all six numbers are just over eight million to one. Under the new structure, they will lengthen to 10.7 million to one.

Bigger jackpots

Nonetheless, operator Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI) said the changes were long overdue and would deliver bigger jackpots, better sales for retailers and, ultimately, more money for good causes.

Good causes currently receive about 30 per cent of the revenue from ticket and scratch card sales; about €220 million a year.

PLI said the new format would also provide enhanced payouts for a number of smaller prizes, including €100,000 for matching five numbers and the bonus ball, and a prize for matching two numbers plus the bonus number.

The company, which took over the running of the franchise just 10 months ago, said the changes would improve the odds of winning a prize from one in 42 to one in 28.

Chief executive Dermot Griffin told The Irish Times that the changes were likely to generate up to 10 jackpots a year of over €10 million, compared to only two at present.

These typically trigger greater public interest and an 80 per cent bounce in sales for the company and its retail agents.

Mr Griffin said he also expected the lottery’s record €18 million jackpot, scooped by a Co Carlow work syndicate in 2008, to be eclipsed within five years of the new structure being introduced.

The first lotto draw with the new pricing structure will take place on Saturday, September 5th. Retailers, which have been concerned about the possible shift of lotto sales online, welcomed the changes.

The National Lottery’s agent council, comprising several prominent retail groups, said: “Time does not stand still, Lotto constantly needs revision and revitalising. As representative members of the retail trade associations we believe this new game offers our customers bigger jackpots, enhanced prize levels and new ways to win.”

The last time the National Lottery introduced changes to its basic pricing structure and playing format was in 2006 when it upped the price per line from €1 to €1.50 and added three extra numbers.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times