After months of rollovers, the National Lottery has announced the €19 million jackpot ‘must be won’ this weekend.
The jackpot was last won in June and has rolled over dozens of times since then.
It hit the current record €19.06 million cap in October and still hasn’t been won.
It’s an unprecedented situation - and one that has very much caught the attention of politicians, several of whom have raised concerns about the lack of jackpot winners.
As a result, it was confirmed last night - after there was yet again no jackpot winner - that this weekend’s draw will operate a little differently.
If nobody wins this Saturday’s jackpot, then the €19 million will ‘flow down’ to the next winning prize tier.
That means if there’s no big winner the prize would be split between anyone who matched five and the bonus number.
If nobody wins that either it would then flow down to anyone who matches five numbers.
Sarah Orr, spokesperson for the National Lottery, told Newstalk Breakfast said this all means it’s guaranteed the jackpot will finally be won.
She said: “If there is one outright winner of the Lotto jackpot - if we see a player or players match all six numbers - they’ll win the full amount as standard.
“If we don’t see an outright winner… the entire jackpot prize fund will actually flow down to the next prize tier at which there’s a winner.”
The size of the prize will very much depend on which tier the jackpot flows down to.
On Wednesday, for example, three ticket-holders matched five and the bonus numbers. If that happened on Saturday, the €19 million would be split three ways - so each winner would enjoy a substantial €6.3 million prize.
In recent months, between one and three ticket-holders have matched five and the bonus on several occasions.
If nobody wins in that tier either (which does often happen) then the jackpot will flow down to those who match five numbers and no bonus - and in that case the jackpot would most likely be split between far more people.
Last Saturday, for example, there were 24 tickets that had five numbers and no bonus. They won around €33,000 each - but if the jackpot flowed down to that tier on Saturday the winnings would increase to nearly €800,000.
Ms Orr, however, says it would be “highly unlikely” the prize would flow down any further to people who matched just four numbers and the bonus.
The National Lottery has also introduced new rules that will see a similar ‘must be won’ draw happen if a similar situation occurs in the future.
If the cap is hit again - which happens if the jackpot exceeds the previous record - then it will remain capped for a maximum of five draws, after which the prize will ‘flow down’ to the next winning prize tier.