Almost half a billion euro paid out by National Lottery in 2018

The biggest prize paid out this year was €17m EuroMillions jackpot won in Thurles

Almost half a billion euro has been paid out to National Lottery winners so far this year with 23 millionaires created as Dublin and Tipperary proved to be the State's luckiest counties .

All told, the National Lottery paid out €436.6 million in prizes to players in 2018, which, it said, amounted to a return of 57 cent for every Euro spent, the highest percentage payout since the National Lottery was established 31 years ago.

Under the terms of its licence the National Lottery is required to pay a minimum of 50 cent in every Euro in prizes.

Nearly 30 cent in every euro spent on all National Lottery games was returned to good causes covering sport, youth, health, community, arts, heritage and the Irish language.


The biggest prize paid out this year was a €17 million EuroMillions jackpot won by the lucky Stakelums Hardware syndicate in Thurles, Co. Tipperary and the highest Lotto jackpot win of the year was €8,549,067 won by a Galway-based syndicate with a ticket bought at the Corrib Oil Service Station in Loughrea, Co Galway.

Given its population density, it is no surprise that Dublin once again proved to be the luckiest county with almost €30 million paid out to players in 49 top tier wins across the EuroMillions, Lotto, Daily Millions and Telly Bingo games.

Top tier

The second luckiest county was Co Tipperary which saw players scoop a total of €19,537,541 in 10 big wins, while Cork emerged as the third luckiest county with more than €19.1 million won in 19 top tier wins.

Since 2009 there have been six big online winners with two of those coming this year including one Lotto jackpot winner of €7.1 million which was won in February.

There are 485,000 people registered to play online now and online sales jumped by 17 per cent in 2018 compared with last year with digital sales now representing 7.5 per cent of the market.

“In today’s high tech world the National Lottery must have a presence online,” a spokeswoman said. “If we don’t our sales will suffer and therefore what we give back to good causes will drop. We want to make it as convenient as possible for our players to play our games – whether in store or online.

She stressed that there were “system controls and limits” in place to ensure problem gamblers were protected, at least to a degree.

Online players are subject to a daily maximum spending limit of €75, a weekly maximum limit of €300 and a monthly maximum limit of €900. And you only play online between 7am and 10pm for draw-based games and from 7am to 11pm for online games.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast