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.
Take a look at the history of the most popular lottery games in Ireland below:
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.
August 1992 format change
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.
September 2015 format change
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.
August 2018 Lotto Plus changes
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.
New Record Jackpot in 2022
A staggering run of more than 60 rollovers commenced in June 2021. The jackpot reached its cap but the wait for a winner continued for so long that rule changes were implemented. A Will Be Won draw was held on 15th January to finally ensure someone would win, and the €19.06 million jackpot ended up going to a sole player from Co Mayo. From this point on, it was determined that Will Be Won draws would happen once the jackpot had stayed at its cap for five consecutive draws.
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 first big winner when she scooped €115.4 million on 29th July 2005.
Launch of EuroMillions Plus in 2007
EuroMillions Plus was launched as a supplementary game in June 2007, offering players the chance to win up to €500,000 in an extra draw using the same numbers that they entered into the main EuroMillions draw. It costs €1 extra per line to enter the 'Plus' draw when purchasing EuroMillions entries.
September 2016 format change
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.
Irish record broken in 2019
Dolores McNamara's long-standing record was broken on 19th February 2019, when a single ticket won €175.4 million to win the biggest prize in the history of the Irish lottery. The jackpot was claimed by a family syndicate from Co Dublin.
Daily Million has offered players the chance to win €1 million every day since the first draw was held on 11th September 2012 (replacing the Monday Million game that ran up until this date). Tickets for the draw cost €1 each, with a minimum purchase of one ticket per transaction. Daily Million Plus, with a top prize of €500,000, started at the same time and costs an additional 50c per line.
Introduction of the 2pm draw
A second daily draw, taking place at 2pm, was launched for both Daily Million and Daily Million Plus in April 2016.