EuroMillions: Join the £125m club

A series of EuroMillions rollovers means this week may see the biggest ever lottery payout in the world
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The Independent Online

It could be you. Britain is bracing itself for unprecedented lottery fever this week after there was no winner of the £105m EuroMillions lottery jackpot on 27 January. The prize will now roll over, so this Friday's jackpot is a record-breaking £125m.

If one person wins the jackpot, it will be the largest lottery prize payout in the world. If it is a Briton, they will immediately become one of the richest people in the country.

Philip Beresford, compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, said: "Whoever wins the jackpot will be one of the most liquid people in Britain. They will certainly be in the top 100 of sheer cash-rich people, and in pure wealth terms they will go straight into the top 500.

"There is a hole burning in my upcoming list, as I wait for the winner. I am desperate for them to be a Briton and for them to be open to publicity so I can slot them in."

This is the 11th time in succession that the jackpot has rolled over. However, the EuroMillions lottery can only roll over 12 times. So if no one matches all five numbers plus the two "lucky stars" on Friday 10 February, the prize will be divided between those who have matched five number plus one "lucky star".

Tickets were selling at 1,000 per cent their usual rate last week ahead of last Friday's draw - and are expected to be eclipsed in sales this week

In the final hours before the £105m draw, sales reached a peak of more than three million tickets an hour, the National Lottery operator, Camelot, said. Sales are expected to increase even further this week - to 1,500 per cent the normal level.

The recent flurry of rollovers has boosted interest in the pan-European lottery in Britain after it made a slow start here. The Independent on Sunday last year revealed that EuroMillions had fallen short of Camelot's expectations, averaging sales of just two million tickets a week, bringing in £100m a year.

It is played in nine countries across Europe and has been a big hit in France, Spain and Ireland. But it has not captured the imagination in Britain, where the main National Lottery jackpots tend to be larger than in the rest of Europe.

Just one Briton, Marion Richardson, from Gateshead, has won the whole EuroMillions jackpot, scooping £16.7m in April 2004. Two other Britons shared the prize with a third person last year.

A Camelot spokesman said on Friday: "Even though no one scooped the jackpot, UK players won a total of £16m-worth of prizes, plus even more money has been raised for the good causes. In this series of rollovers alone, EuroMillions has raised £40m for the good causes here in the UK.

"The huge appetite for the biggest jackpot in European lottery history has resulted in a massive rise in ticket sales, which will also help boost returns for good causes."

EuroMillions is played in the UK, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, France, Luxembourg, Spain and Switzerland. All the money raised for good causes from ticket sales in the UK stays in the country.

Riches that bring death threats and kidnap plots

Far from enjoying the high life since winning £77m in the EuroMillions lottery last July - one of

the biggest lottery prizes ever - Dolores McNamara has become a prisoner in her home and is terrified for the safety of her family.

Police uncovered a plot to kidnap one of her sons last October. He is now in hiding with his partner and young child. Criminals have demanded £20,000 and threatened to kill another of her sons, who is currently serving life in jail for murder.

On advice from the police, she spent more than £100,000 on security, equipping her three-bedroom bungalow in Garryowen, Limerick, with CCTV cameras, a high wall and alarmed gates. She has two bodyguards.

Her lawyers advised her not to spend any large sums for some time to avoid the publicity and to work out exactly what she wants to do with her fortune. In fact, she has stashed the cash away in a trust fund for six months and makes do on the £8,000 interest per day that she receives from it.

But the former employee of a pharmaceutical company and mother of six has done a little luxury shopping. She will soon move into a £1.2m, 38-acre estate on Lough Derg, equipped with swimming pool, hot tub and coach house.

She has also bought one son a £335,000 house in Castleconnell, travelled to Spain for a holiday and given her husband a new BMW.

But friends say that Mrs McNamara, now Ireland's second richest person, is most pleased with her purchase of a £25 handbag.

Katherine Haywood

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