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Managing your risk landscape


National lottery £15 scandal: It’s not just the luck of the draw!

Thu 24 Mar 2016 @ 11:44

National Lottery players were in uproar after the draw on 23rd March as the winners bagged more money for matching just three balls than five. The not so lucky winners who matched 5 balls were surprised to find that they would get just £15, while the prize for matching just three balls was £25. So what happened? There are a number of factors which are equally accountable for the unexpected outcome, so despite consumer perceptions the blame doesn’t sit solely with Camelot.

So, here’s what happened. Since the national lottery restructure in 2014, 3 matches has a fixed payment of £25, whereas 5 matches is allocated a percentage of the total money, 0.36% to be exact. So when an unprecedented number of over 4,000 players matched 5 numbers (80 x higher than usual) they had to share the allocated £61,000 between them.

So why was the number of winners so high for this specific draw? Looking at the numbers that were drawn 14, 21, 42, 35, 07, 41 the majority are multiples of 7. Dr John Haigh, emeritus reader in mathematics at the University of Sussex, said players would do well to think beyond lucky numbers, which tend to be birth dates and patterns, and ensure their selection extended across all numbers up to 59. Although this won’t increase a players chance of winning it will eliminate incidents like this from happening again, as the prize pot won’t be shared by such a large amount of players.

Even though this an extremely rare occasion, it’s clear to see why the volume of winners was much higher than usual as numerous players chose a pattern tactic. Camelot should count themselves lucky that ball 28 wasn’t also draw as this would have seen over 4,000 people sharing the winning jackpot of £25 million. This would no doubt have caused even more uproar as winners would have walked away with a share as little as £6,000 of the winning jackpot.

Should the prize structure be looked at by Camelot? Potentially yes. But they could have also eased tensions with a complimentary pay out of £10 for each player, reducing the threat of losing valued players in the long run. However it’s not just the luck of the draw; players have to be savvy in their approach to lotteries. They have to think outside the box if they want maximum pay out, being tactical in the future can help players avoid a repeat performance of the £15 ‘scandal’.
Although this may have created a mass of bad PR for Camelot it certainly wasn’t ‘robbery’ as some players had suggested. Yes, Camelot are partly at fault for allocating such a small percentage of the overall prize fund to matching 5 balls, however the pattern strategy used by such a vast amount of players was very much to blame. Players should be astute about the numbers they pick in the future.


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