Sunday January 10,2016 : LOTTERY MADNESS IN THE U.K. AND U.S.A.
Record jackpots lead to frantic ticket buying.
With jackpots at GBP 66 million in the UK National Lottery and $949.8 million in the US Powerball – both drawn Saturday – it was no wonder that the punters turned out in their millions to buy lottery tickets in the days running up to the big draws.
In the UK that led to the online sales site being temporarily overwhelmed by call volume for the second time in a week (the first being Wednesday's draw).
In the event, the UK record jackpot was won by two at present unidentified ticket holders with the winning numbers 58, 47, 27, 46, 52, 26 and the bonus number 48, splitting the GBP 66 million into two equal GBP 33,035,323 payments.
The massive prize pot was the lottery’s biggest ever after a number of consecutive roll-overs, and new rules would have triggered a distribution to the next tier of winning numbers if there had been no outright winner.
However, the fact that the jackpot was won means that winning ticket holders in that next tier (five main numbers and the bonus ball) will receive just GBP 64,426 each in the current draw.
National Lottery operator Camelot apologised for the website crash, which left some would-be punters out in the cold, but explained that traffic on the site had reached unprecedented levels just prior to the cut-off time for sales, and that the operator had repeatedly urged buyers to obtain their tickets in good time after the site experienced similar problems in the run-up to the previous draw.
The odds on winning the jackpot were about 1 in 45 million, analysts claimed.
Saturday’s prize eclipses the previous highest jackpot of GBP 42 million shared by three winners in 1996.
Across the pond in the United States, huge Powerball sales were reported as crowds bought in for a chance at the record $949.8 million Powerball lottery jackpot…also drawn Saturday.
However, early reports indicate that the winning numbers – 32, 16, 19, 57, 34 and Powerball number 13 were not drawn, requiring yet another roll-over to $1.3 billion for next Wednesday's draw.
Some statisticians claimed that the odds of winning this biggest of all American lottery jackpots were one in 292 million on Saturday's draw.
The grand prize for Powerball – played in 44 states, Washington DC, and two US territories – would have been worth $US558 million if a winner elected to receive an immediate cash pay-out instead of annual payments over 29 years, lottery officials revealed to reporters.
Jeffrey Miecznikowski, associate professor of biostatistics at the University at Buffalo, said an American was roughly 25 times more likely to become the next president of the United States than to win at Powerball.
Or to put it another way, the odds were equivalent to flipping a coin 28 times and getting heads every time, he said.
"It doesn't sound so bad . . . but you would be at it for an eternity," he said.