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Main Lotto Changes

On Saturday 5th October 2013, the main Lotto changed quite radically as follows:

FeatureOld Main LottoNew Main Lotto
Ticket cost £1 per draw £2 per draw (100% increase)
Jackpot prize (6-match) Sat £3,900,000 £5,000,000 (28% increase)
Jackpot prize (6-match) Wed £2,100,000 £2,500,000 (19% increase)
5+bonus £100,000 £50,000 (50% drop)
5-match £1,500 £1,000 (33% drop)
4-match £60 £100 (67% increase)
3-match £10 £25 (150% increase)
Raffle N/A 50 winners of £20,000. 50 more winners are added per consecutive rollover, so a quad rollover has 250 winners for example. Super Draws can set even higher number of winners e.g. 1,000 for the first two Saturday raffles.

Note that everything else stays the same including the draw days (Wed and Sat), the main Lotto rollover rules (maxium of 4 consecutive rollovers), the number of balls drawn (6 from 49) and the bonus ball rules (only applies if you match exactly 5 of the 6 main balls drawn).

So what are the issues with the main Lotto changes? Let's go through them one by one:

Doubling of the ticket cost from £1 to £2

This really is the headline change and is the largest price increase ever seen on a ticket-based game run by Camelot. Remember that Euro Millions started at £1.50 and eventually increased to £2 when the prize structure was slightly revamped and a raffle introduced - making it a much lower percentage increase (33% rather than 100%).

Although the figures in the table above come from Camelot's official FAQ, you've got to wonder if they are over-optimistic (i.e. based on the dubious premise that the same number of people will play the new Lotto compared to the old one, so the jackpots will increase). My feeling is that we'll see a drop in the actual number of tickets purchased for these reasons:

Reverse calculating the ticket sales (in terms of actual tickets bought, not the revenue) for the early new main Lotto draws will be interesting, particularly in the weeks after the hype of the two Super Draw Saturdays has died down. My suspicion is that the number of tickets bought will be lower than recent old main Lotto draws, but it's quite possible that the ticket revenue will actually increase (for it to fall, more than half the players have to quit the main Lotto, which is unlikely to happen). I bet Camelot will crow about the revenue increase, even if the number of tickets actually bought drops substantially!

Increasing some average or static individual prizes

It's always a good thing to have a higher jackpot prize, because it attracts more players. It's also nice to see the static 3-match prize substantially increased, since that can be a bugbear for many players (£10 seemed low for the difficult task of matching 3 numbers). A decent boost to the 4-match prize is also welcome, since people only manage that after several years of playing! So overall, you can't gripe about these increases, even if the jackpot increase Camelot quotes probably assumes not many people stop playing the Lotto!

Decreasing some average individual prizes

I always thought the 5+bonus prize was a weird anomaly and the halving of the average prize for it makes me wonder if they couldn't just drop the bonus ball completely? The 5-match prize is now equally poor - you'll get that once in a lifetime if you're lucky and it'll barely go into 4 figures now.

New raffle

I can't say enough bad things about this. It seems like Camelot thought "when we last fiddled with the prize structure on Euro Millions, we added a raffle, so why not do the same this time?". Except they then totally panicked when they realised they couldn't introduce a high raffle individual prize because Euro Millions already does that (£1m, the minimum worth winning for any top prize, IMHO).

So what raffle prize structure did they come up with? Four £250,000 prizes that rollover with the main Lotto (so a quad rollover has four £1m prizes)? Or ten £100,000 prizes that don't rollover? Nope, they came up with the utterly useless of idea of a £20,000 raffle prize - one of the lowest "top" prizes ever offered by Camelot in their history. Sure, they start at 50 prizes, a quad rollover can have 250 prizes and a Super Draw 1,000 prizes, but they're still all just 20 grand each! Without this raffle, the price increase could have been 50p and you'd get far less defections with a £1.50 ticket price, IMHO.

OK, smarty pants, what would you have done instead?

Here's ideas I've had over the years that Camelot haven't bothered implementing:

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