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
Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn