The National Lottery should consider reducing the number of balls in the Lotto draw if a jackpot isn't won after a month, a TD says.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín says a 'transparent and fair' new approach is now needed, after the current jackpot rolled over for the 50th time yesterday.
The top prize was last won on June 6th, and has rolled over twice a week ever since.
The jackpot reached a record €19 million in late September, and under Lotto rules will remain capped at that level until it’s won.
It has led to calls for an 'urgent audit' of the current system, as well as changes to ensure the draw is actually more 'winnable'.
Speaking on Lunchtime Live, Deputy Tóibín said the lottery was designed for a large money prize to be won regularly - but that's not happening at the moment.
He said: “It certainly wasn’t designed for the process we have now… I think there’s a problem in it, and it’s not a small problem. This is a billion-euro industry… practically a billion euro collected on an annual basis.
“In 1988, there were 36 balls… since 2015, there have been 47 balls. That’s an increase of 11 balls, which - statistically - radically reduces the opportunity to win.
"This statistical aberration, as it looks like at the moment, is just far more likely under the current system. This isn’t what the licence was for.”
The National Lottery is licensed to a private company, and Deputy Tóibín now believes they now need "a nudge" from politicians to change up the current system.
He said: “There are a number of different permutations by which this problem can be fixed… but it needs a little bit of political pressure.
“My suggestion here is that if the draw isn’t won after maybe a month, the National Lottery would reduce the number of balls that are used. That would reduce the odds.”
He also argued that there could be a cap on the number of times the lottery can roll over - and if it isn't won then just the jackpot draw could be re-run to ensure it's actually won.
An Oireachtas committee will next week hear from both the National Lottery and the Office of the Regulator about the ongoing situation.
Deputy Tóibín has called for Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath to also attend that meeting, saying he believes the Government "does have a responsibility" when it comes to issues related to the lotto.
Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan, meanwhile, says he fears the integrity of the lottery could be damaged if the current situation continues - potentially hurting the many 'good causes' that receive lottery funding.
He said: “It’s a game of chance… but a lot of people have come to the conclusion, whether it’s right or wrong, that there’s no chance of winning at all.
“Fifty attempts at winning and no winner… and hundreds of thousands of people are playing.
“The very good causes that get help from the National Lottery expect it to continue.”