Lotto should be investigated after six months of no winners, Fine Gael TD says

Bernard Durkan speaking after biweekly draw rolled over on 46 separate occasions

An audit and investigation of the National Lottery draw should be launched as there has not been a winner of the top jackpot in six months, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Bernard Durkan, Fine Gael TD for the Kildare North constituency, was speaking after the biweekly lotto draw was rolled over on 46 separate occasions since it was last won on June 6th.

“It’s been almost six months since it was won. This didn’t happen in Ronan Collins’ day. The jackpot has been stuck at €19 million since September,” he said.

A “full investigation and audit into the draw” should take place, Mr Durkan said.

“I have never agreed with Premier Lotteries Ireland’s decision to increase the number of balls to 47. I’m old enough to remember 1986 when there were 36 balls and that’s how it should have stayed.”

Mr Durkan called on the chief executive of Premier Lotteries Ireland, Andrew Algeo, to "drop a couple of balls as a mark of good faith and make the draw more winnable."

In 1988, there were 36 balls, 39 in 1992, 42 in 1994, 45 in 2006 and 47 in 2015.

“Mr Algeo, tear down those balls,” Mr Durkan said.

Mr Durkan is on both the Oireachtas Finance and Public Expenditure committees and stated that he wanted a "full audit" into why there has been no winner "in the interests of public confidence".

He also wanted "a return of the independent observer from KPMG Stokes Kennedy Crowley, who used to stand beside the machine, keeping an eye on things."

“I’m not saying anything odd has happened, but it’s the longest run in the history of the game so we need a bit of reassurance,” he said.

Mr Durkan said he would be writing to Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath, to express “concern” and to get his views on the matter.

Ahead of the next lotto draw, the prospect of a winner was “so remote that punters must be thinking Shergar would have a better chance at winning Squid Game,” Mr Durkan said.

‘Unprecedented event’

A Lottery spokesman described the current jackpot of €19 million and a rollover of 23 weeks as “an unprecedented event”.

He said the rules mandate that the jackpot must be capped at €19.06 million after which no additional funds can be added to the jackpot.

“The prize fund which is usually added to the jackpot is instead distributed to the next tier at which there is a winner,” he said.

“Since the jackpot reached the €19 million jackpot cap on October 2nd, 179 players throughout the country who won the Match 5 or Match 5 + Bonus prize have shared in approximately €12.69 million in additional prize money due to the jackpot prize roll down,” he continued.

He pointed to last Wednesday’s draw in which two players won the Match 5 + Bonus prize of €768,522, each winning €384,261.

“If there are no winners at this prize tier, the fund flows down to the Match 5 tier which last happened on Wednesday 10th November which saw 27 winners of the Match 5 prize of €28,908 each.”