While everybody dreams of winning the lottery, the chances of winning the jackpot prize in the Lotto could be harder than ever, following controversial changes to be introduced this weekend. (10 October) The number of balls in the draw will be increased from 49 to 59, increasing the odds of matching all six balls from one in 14 million to one in 45 million, while the chances of matching three balls drops from one in 57 to one in 97. All in all, it will be three times more difficult to win the life changing prize money.
Dr Simon Goodwin, a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham's School of Mathematics explained: "Players will have less than one-third of the chance of winning the jackpot than previously. Similarly, the chances of matching five and the bonus ball will drop by more than a third, and the probability of matching 5, 4 or 3 balls will drop too."
Lotto operator Camelot defended the "enhancements" claiming that in fact, the new changes will give players a better chance of winning. As part of the lotto makeover, a new Millionaire Raffle will be introduced guaranteeing at least one millionaire per draw, while the average winning jackpot is expected to be triple the current level because of more rollovers.
Camelot says the chances of winning at least £1m will be better than the chances of winning the jackpot on the current game, with odds at one in just under 10 million compared with one in 14 million.
"By giving our players more chances than ever to become a millionaire and with bigger rolling jackpots to play for, we're making Lotto even more exciting," Camelot boss Andy Duncan told Sky News. "This will help to keep the game healthy and thriving in the years ahead - ultimately delivering even more for players and safeguarding the vital millions that Lotto raises for National Lottery projects every week."
As a further incentive, players who match two numbers will receive a Lucky Dip ticket for another draw. That would mean an extra 1.8 million winners a week, with the chance of winning any prize increasing from one in 54, to one in 9.3. The cost of playing stays at £2 a line.
The only thing that doesn't change, is the long-held dream of becoming a millionaire overnight.