Lotto shake-up: After the good news comes the bad

Players' chances of winning will be hugely decreased in the changes announced by Camelot

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The Independent Online

It seems that winning the National Lottery jackpot could in fact be further out of reach for people.

In part of a major overhaul of the game announced yesterday by Camelot, reports emerged today that players’ chances of winning will hugely shrink.

It comes after Camelot said the game’s shake-up would increase the chances of people winning at least £1 million to one in 10 million, rather than one in 14 million at which the odds currently stand.

But the odds of securing the jackpot will decrease to one in 45 million when an additional 10 balls are added to the pool later this year. Currently there are 49 balls and the odds of winning are one in 14 million.

Dr Simon Goodwin, a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, told Sky News: “This means that players will have less than one-third of the chance of winning the jackpot than previously.”

“Similarly, the chances of matching five and the bonus ball will drop by more than a third, and the probability of matching five, four or three balls will drop too,” said Dr Goodwin.

In a statement reported by Sky News, Camelot said: “Although more numbers to choose from means the odds on the existing prize tiers will lengthen, players will win more often, have more chances that ever to become a millionaire and will have the chance of winning huge rolling jackpots, which we know they love.”

However, some were concerned that people would be inclined to buy more tickets.

“We are concerned that people’s chances of winning have been shortened so they will compensate for this by buying more tickets,” Eugene Farrar of the gambling Reform and Society Perception told the Daily Mirror.

Andy Duncan of Camelot told the newspaper: “The intention is to keep the game fresh, not get people to spend more money on a new line.”

The changes will be implemented in October. And along with increasing the number of balls, there will be two new £1 million raffles every week and the limit of four rollovers will be scrapped for a maximum of £50 million plus a final draw.

But some aspects of the game will stay the same. It will still cost £2 for a line and players who match three numbers will continue to receive £25.