Three scoop jackpot as Britain goes lottery mad

THREE WINNERS have scooped Britain's biggest-ever gamble by sharing the National Lottery's pounds 42m record jackpot between them, the lottery organisers Camelot announced late last night. So great was the number of tickets to be checked that further details will not be known until later today.

Earlier, only a computer breakdown was able to halt Britain's day-long gambling frenzy, and then only for half an hour. More than pounds 60m was spent on lottery tickets yesterday alone as millions of people joined in the scramble for the rollover jackpot, causing all 19,000 lottery ticket machines to break down.

By the time sales ended at 7pm about 40 million people, 90 per cent of the adult population, had bought tickets and were waiting for the winning numbers drawn by the singer Cher at 8pm. The numbers were 2, 3, 4, 13, 42, 44 and bonus 24.

After struggling to cope with sales which broke records from 7am onwards, the machines crashed just before 1pm as the lottery's two main data processing sites in Watford and Liverpool proved unable to cope.

Tens of thousands of punters stayed in long queues as technicians rectified the fault. Others were turned away and told to come back later.

"It was a congestion problem caused by the sheer volume of sales," said a spokesman for Camelot. "Between 11 and 12 o'clock we were selling at a rate of five million tickets an hour. Most outlets were back up very quickly, although some may have experienced longer delays signing back on."

But the 30-minute interruption, which may have cost Camelot more than pounds 2m in revenue, did nothing to hold back the demand prompted by the mammoth prize, a double rollover. Sales for the biggest gamble in British history later peaked at nine million tickets an hour, and at one point 5,000 per second, helping to build a record total of pounds 128m for the week. The total prize fund was expected to be pounds 81.5m, shared by some 1.5 million ticket- holders.

It all started early. A new record number of tickets - 250,000 - were sold in the first full hour, and then the figure was beaten repeatedly through the day. At David McClean's newsagents, in Newtown, Powys, where more than 80,000 winning tickets have been sold since the lottery was launched, queues formed from 5.30am.

The value of tickets sold dwarfed the pounds 75m bet on the last Grand National and is believed to have been swelled by gamblers from the Continent and huge private syndicates. Camelot predicted the top prize was likely to be shared by at least six people.

Not everybody was happy. George Foulkes, Labour's front-bench spokesman on overseas aid, said the "mad frenzy" could cost the lives of countless starving people in Third World countries, because much of the stake money would otherwise have gone to charities.

Mr Foulkes, MP for Carrick, Cummock and Doon Valley, said: "In the mad frenzy of a huge proportion of the population trying to become multi-millionaires, and to join the super-rich, people seem to have forgotten the dire plight of starving millions in the poorest and most bleak parts of the earth. Countless more people than might otherwise be the case could starve to death."

Bonds are back, page 4

Hamish McRae, Business

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect