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# UK Lotto players furious over 5-number payout

Mar 24, 2016, 9:17 am (35 comments)

'Teachable moment' for people who play multiples or patterns

Imagine beating the odds of 1 in 144,415 only to find out that your prize payout was just £15 (US\$21). That's what thousands of UK Lotto players experienced Wednesday night.

National Lottery winners were left in anger last night after those who matched five numbers ended up with less money than people that matched only three.

Players with five winning numbers in Wednesday's Lotto draw ended up with just £15. This compared to £25 for people who matched three balls, and £51 for people who matched four.

The winning numbers were 7, 14, 21, 35, 41, 42, and the bonus ball was 43.

In UK Lotto, players choose 6 numbers from a pool of 59, making the odds of a 5-number match 1 in 144,415. The expected payout for matching five numbers is around £1,000 (US\$1,413). In the previous Lotto drawing last Saturday night, the 5-number payout was £1,896 (US\$2,679).

Lotto operator Camelot said it was an "extremely rare" set of winning numbers, five of which were multiples of seven. This set of numbers is a popular choice for players and pushed up the number of winners.

Lottery experts for years have been saying that playing patterns or multiples of numbers is a bad idea. Thousands of UK Lotto players learned that lesson the hard way last night.

Some 4,082 players matched five balls, sharing a winning pot that totalled just over £60,000.  Meanwhile 7,879 people who matched four numbers shared £401,829.

Others questioned whether the National Lottery's prize fund structure needed reviewing, while some threatened to stop playing altogether.

Camelot said the number of people with five winning numbers was "around 80 times higher" than the usual 50 winners that would normally match five balls.

"It is a lottery at the end of the day, and the prizes people win are determined by the balls drawn and the number of people who match those numbers. As a result, extremely rare events like this do happen," said a spokesman.

No one took the jackpot, which means a top prize on Saturday of £28.2 million (US\$40 million).

How the prizes work

• On Lotto, the prizes for Match 2 and Match 3 are a fixed amount — a free Lucky Dip for Match 2 and £25 for Match 3. They are the only prizes on Lotto that are fixed.
• Once the Match 2 and Match 3 prizes are paid out, the other prize tiers are allocated a certain percentage of the remaining prize pot.
• The amount of money must be shared equally by the number of winners in each prize tier.
• In the case of last night's draw, there was £61,230 available to be paid out to Match 5 winners. However, because there were an unprecedented 4,000-plus Match 5 winners — so around 80 times higher than the usual 50 or so winners that we would normally expect to see for the Match 5 prize tier — they had to share this amount of money.

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Lottery Post Staff

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myturn

At the end of the day, we all win. We all benefit from the revenue raised, even if we don't participate.

faber98

what did they expect when you play lucky number 7 and then 14 21 28 35 42. or 2 4 6 8 10 12 or 5 10 15 20 25 30 in a pari-mutuel pool. they got what they deserved for doing that. good lesson for all.

rcbbuckeye

In our All or Nothing game there are still people that play all even or odd, or 1st 12 or last 12. If those numbers ever hit, each winning ticket will be worth about \$20000 instead of \$250000. There's a \$5 million cap on the jackpot, then it becomes parimutuel.

Numbernutt

Case in point..... Illinois had a similar situation back on June 18th, 1983

when their lotto game was a pick 6 of 40 matrix.....

the numbers  07 - 13 - 14 - 21 - 28 - 35  plus bonus ball 37 were drawn.....

If I remember correctly, there were 70 something jackpot winners.....

and the jackpot payout, I believe was just under \$10,000 each

All multiples of 7..... and the 13 for good luck.....

Slick Nick

That's a real bummer.    5 pays less than 3.     That would have been my final bet.

MoneyMike\$

Haha wow must be peoples biggest fear to not win much for matching 5 balls.. imagine?

dr65

Quote: Originally posted by Numbernutt on Mar 24, 2016

Case in point..... Illinois had a similar situation back on June 18th, 1983

when their lotto game was a pick 6 of 40 matrix.....

the numbers  07 - 13 - 14 - 21 - 28 - 35  plus bonus ball 37 were drawn.....

If I remember correctly, there were 70 something jackpot winners.....

and the jackpot payout, I believe was just under \$10,000 each

All multiples of 7..... and the 13 for good luck.....

Same type of thing happened with PA Cash 5..I believe the numbers were low, sequence.

I'd rather play a QP than choose numbers legions of players think only they will hit...

multiples of 2's, 3's 5's..etc, sequences and patterned playslip plays.

rcbbuckeye

Quote: Originally posted by Slick Nick on Mar 24, 2016

That's a real bummer.    5 pays less than 3.     That would have been my final bet.

Do you understand why that happened? More importantly, do you understand how to choose combinations to avoid having that happen to you?

Ron5995

Sadly, not the first time nor the last. Hundreds of PA players were very upset when 5-10-15-20-25 came up in the Cash 5 many years ago resulting in a payout of \$439 instead of \$100,000. EDIT: the previous draw was won by a single winner for \$446,373.50, which was unfortunate for these winners.

Feb-06-2004 PA Cash 5 payouts:

242 players matched 5, each receiving \$439.00 (over 1,000 times less than what the sole jackpot winner the night before had won)
402 players matched 4, each receiving \$110.50
6269 players matched 3, each receiving \$7.50
56593 players matched 2, each receiving \$1.00

Playing popular combinations is an all too common hazard that bites players every so often. Quick-picks aren't 100% ironclad, but the likelihood of a QP resulting in a popular pattern is very, very slim. Self-selection gives the player a sense of control / adds some fun, but humans are lousy when it comes to avoiding patterns. Much of the time, the worse that happens is a 2 or 3 way jackpot split, still leaving each of winners with a nice bundle.

It's not just many players who don't fully appreciate the hazards of playing patterns. Even lotteries sometimes goof too, such as Texas did with their original implementation of Texas All or Nothing game, which featured play-slips containing pre-selected combos (first 12, last 12, all odd, all even) and no prize cap. After a close call, Texas abruptly pulled the game and reworked the play-slips and put the \$5 million prize cap on. Prior to that, the potential prize liability was upwards of \$250 million. Needless to say Texas Lottery dodged a bullet.

On a related note, both Mega Millions and Powerball have prize caps for lower tiers. The vast, vast majority of players (even including many in California, which already pays pari-mutuel)  would be surprised to know that the lower prizes aren't fixed and could potentially be far less. The fixed \$1 million prize (except CA) could go far lower. What occurred in UK Lotto could happen with the PB / MM Match-5 prize too.

While there are technical measures lotteries could put in place to discourage / notify players of a particular combination having excess wagers, it's ultimately up to players to understand the prize payout structure of the games they play; avoid playing popular patterns and/or utilizing quick-pick.

elios311

The reaction and the complaints of players make no sense. What gives winners the right to complain when the rules that were known in advance are applied? Do they propose that Camelot should break the rules just this time or something? One thing is to suggest that the rules should change in the future, but it is a whole different thing to blame Camelot for your own stupidity of not even reading the rules of the games that you play.

On an unrelated note, for this very reason I always play unpopular numbers. The uglier the ticket slip looks like, the less likely you are to have to share. I follow these steps:

• avoid numbers you can form birthdays with (31 and below and especially 12 and below)
• avoid odd numbers and especially prime numbers (players really like these for some reason)
• avoid any kinds of patterns including trying to evenly spread numbers apart
• try selecting at least one pair of numbers that are touching each other on the selection table (people don't like this for some reason)
• after these filters were applied, make selection from remaining numbers using Quick Pick in order to avoid making patterns subconsciously
• do not go to the opposite extreme and select only the least popular numbers (someone out there is doing the same)

In general, the uglier your lottery ticket looks like, the likelier it is that you are its only owner. If you play by quick picks and the machine produces a really ugly or boring looking pattern, buy it. Chances are, if someone got the same shape, he didn't like it and pressed the quick pick button again.

All of this above isn't bullet proof as it doesn't safeguard against players who make blind quick picks but at least it helps. It helps not only with large prizes, but with smallest winnings as well (in pari-mutel lotteries), as also the lowest prize tiers have a lower number of winners when unpopular numbers are chosen. That means that instead of winning say 5 in the lowest prize tier, you win 7.

Using this method, I am constantly winning above average amounts. The frequency of wins is of course unaffected.

mypiemaster

If they think that was bad, wait till the numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6 come in.

Groppo

Quote: Originally posted by mypiemaster on Mar 24, 2016

If they think that was bad, wait till the numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6 come in.

Do you really think those numbers will ever come up, my pie master?

(here we are joking about it, but those numbers: 1-2-3-4-5-6, could be a winning ticket, this week)

jjtheprince

Quote: Originally posted by mypiemaster on Mar 24, 2016

If they think that was bad, wait till the numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6 come in.

Exactly!  All the many thousands of winners can pose with pics of their checks for \$8.27!!! LOL

duckman

No grounds for complaining ... the rules state how the payouts are determined. End of story.

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