Irish Lottery History

The Irish National Lottery was established in 1986 and has gone on to raise more than €4.9 billion for good causes, funding projects in sport, recreation, health, welfare, arts, national heritage and the Irish language. The National Lottery is currently run by Premier Lotteries Ireland, and offers various different games for players.

Irish Lotto

The first Irish Lotto draw took place on Saturday 16th April 1988. A couple of years later, in May 1990, a midweek draw was also added on a Wednesday. When the game first launched, players had to select six numbers from a choice of 36, but this left it open to attack and a 28-member Dublin syndicate tried to buy tickets covering all the different combinations for a draw in May 1992 in an attempt to win the jackpot. They matched the winning numbers, along with two other players, and ended with total winnings of approximately IR£1.16 million.

The lottery was changed to a 6/39 format before the end of August 1992 to prevent such a scheme from happening again, with the Bonus Ball introduced to create more prize tiers. Three more main balls were added to the number range in September 1994 to make it a 6/42 game, and the matrix changed again to 6/45 in November 2006, when the starting jackpot was set at a guaranteed €2 million.

A syndicate of quarry workers set a new record for the largest Irish Lotto prize ever when they won €18.96 million on Saturday 28th June 2008. The format of the game changed again in September 2015 when two new numbers were added to the matrix and players had to select six numbers out of 47. The price of tickets went up from €1.50 to €2 per line and a new prize tier was introduced for players matching two main numbers plus the Bonus Ball. The Lotto Plus Raffle was also launched and several prize tiers were adjusted to give players greater rewards.

A number of changes were made on 30th August 2018 to freshen up the games even more. New prize tiers were introduced in Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2 to increase the overall odds of winning, while the top prize in Lotto Plus 1 was doubled to €1 million. The Lotto Plus Million Euro Raffle was also launched to give players the chance to win €1 million a few times a year.

EuroMillions

Ireland joined EuroMillions ahead of the draw on 8th October 2004, eight months after the game had launched in the UK, Spain and France. Dolores McNamara, a mother of six and part-time cleaner from Limerick, became Ireland’s biggest ever lottery winner when she scooped €115.4 million on 29th July 2005, and the country has continued to regularly deliver big wins.

EuroMillions Plus was launched as a supplementary game in June 2007, and a series of changes were made in September 2016 to freshen things up further. The number of Lucky Stars was increased from 11 to 12, the minimum jackpot went up to €17 million, and an Ireland Only Raffle was introduced to guarantee ten prizes of €5,000 in every draw.

Daily Million

Daily Million has offered players the chance to win €1 million every day since the first draw was held on 11th September 2012. Daily Million Plus, with a top prize of €500,000, started at the same time. A second daily draw was launched for both games in April 2016.