The Irish Lotto is a product of the Irish National Lottery. The game is currently operated by Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), which is the company that runs all of the Irish National Lottery’s games under a 20-year license from the Irish legislature. Lotto is the flagship game of the lottery, which operates a number of different draw and instant scratch card games.
There are four different versions of the Irish Lotto game:
- Lotto Plus;
- Lotto Plus Raffle; and
- Lotto 5-4-3-2-1
The Irish Lotto game consists of 47 balls numbered 1-47. During the draw, six main numbers a drawn first. Then a seventh bonus number is drawn. Players win prizes based on correctly picking various combinations of the six main numbers and the bonus number. Players can pick their own numbers or elect to play with a “Quick Pick” where the computer randomly selects the player’s numbers for them.
The Lotto Plus game has two versions, Lotto Plus 1 and Lotto Plus 2. The plus games offer players two additional opportunities to win prizes based on their original Lotto numbers. It is possible for players to win three separate prizes on the same ticket by having winning numbers in Lotto, Lotto Plus 1, and Lotto Plus 2. Players elect to play the plus games by checking the “Plus” option on the playslip and paying a €0.50 fee for each line on the Lotto ticket they wish to enter into the Plus games.
Players who elect to purchase the Lotto Plus games also receive an entry into a Lotto Plus Raffle. The computer generates a random four digit code for each Lotto Plus line played. If a player’s code matches the code drawn on game day they win a €300 prize.
Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 is a stand alone game that is based on the results of the Lotto draw. The game is based on players predicting the numbers that are drawn in Lotto. Players can elect to predict the numbers drawn only from the six main Lotto numbers (6 Number Game), or they can include the bonus number (7 Number Game). Players can predict 1-5 numbers and can bet €1, €2, €3, €4, or €5. Players only win if all of their predicted numbers are drawn.
Players can purchase Lotto tickets at authorized lottery retailers, via the Lottery’s website, or via the Lottery’s mobile app for IOS or Android. However, there is a €75 per day purchase limit for online/app purchases. Tickets for each draw must be purchased by 7:45 P.M on each Wednesday and Saturday and players must be 18 years old or older.
The Lottery also offers a Syndicate program where players can join into groups to pool their resources to purchase tickets for Lotto and other draw games.
History of the Irish Lottery Game
The Oireachtas created the Irish Lottery in 1986. Lotto was created as the Lottery’s main game. The original version of Lotto allowed players to pick numbers between 1 and 36. Players won a £250,000+ jackpot by matching all six drawn numbers. Players could also win smaller prizes by matching four or five numbers. The original Lotto game only had one draw per week, which was held on Saturdays. The first drawing was held April 16, 1988.
By May 1992 the Irish National Lottery discovered a major security flaw with the 36 number version of Lotto. At the original purchase price of £0.50 per line, it was possible to purchase all winning combinations for £973,896. In May 1992 the Lotto jackpot hit £1.7 million and a Dublin based Syndicate actually tried to purchase all winning combinations. The Lottery was aware of the plan and implemented security measures to try and stop the Syndicate’s efforts. But the 28 member group was able to purchase 80% of the possible winning combinations. This was enough for the Syndicate to win a third of the jackpot prize, and enough prize money from matching four and five numbers to give the group a profit of £310,000. This led the Lottery to change the Lotto game format.
By August of 1992 Lotto was increased to 39 numbers to make it more difficult to purchase all winning combinations for a profit. The Lottery also doubled the base jackpot guarantee, added a bonus number, and added prize tiers based on the bonus number.
In 1994 the Lottery wanted to generate bigger rollover jackpots so the Lotto game was increased to 42 numbers. In addition, the “Quick Pick” automatic number generation option was also introduced.
Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 was added to the lottery’s Lotto lineup in 1997.
The next change came in 1998 when the Lotto ticket price was increased to £0.75, the starting jackpot was increased to £1 million, and the smaller prizes increased by 50%.
Lotto Plus 1 was created in 2000, and Lotto Plus 2 was added to the game lineup in 2002.
In January 2002 Lotto converted to the Euro and ticket prices were raised to €0.95. In September 2002 ticket prices went up to €1 and the base jackpot was raised to €1.35 million.
By 2006 Lotto sales were dropping dramatically. The reduction in sales was attributed to economic conditions that devalued the benefit of winning a Lotto jackpot. So the Lottery sought to increase Lotto prizes by increasing the base jackpot to €2 million. The Lottery also changed the game to a 45 number game and added a smaller match 3 prize tier. Ticket prices were raised to €1.50.
The current version of Lotto was created in 2015 when the game changed to a 47 number game, and the Wednesday evening drawing was added.
The Irish Lotto game is only available to residents of the Republic of Ireland. The Lottery will permit residents to purchase tickets online when traveling if the country they are in permits purchases of foreign lottery tickets from their jurisdiction.
Weekly Day Draw
Lotto draws occur twice a week. The draws are televised live at 7:55 P.M. each Wednesday and Saturday. The draws can be seen on RTE One television.
How To Win at The Irish Lottery
The Irish Lotto has 8 tiers of prizes:
- Match all 6 numbers;
- Match 5 of 6 numbers plus the bonus number
- Match 5 of 6 numbers;
- Match 4 of 6 numbers plus the bonus number
- Match 4 of 6 numbers;
- Match 3 of 6 numbers plus the bonus number;
- Match 3 of 6 numbers; and
- Match 2 of 6 numbers.
The winner who matches all 6 of the main numbers drawn wins the jackpot. With the exception of the lowest (match 2 of 6 numbers) prize tier, all of the remaining prize tiers have prizes that vary based on ticket sales and the number of winners. Typically prizes run around:
- 5 of 6 + bonus number = €100,000;
- 5 of 6 = €1,00-€2,00 (3.22% of prize pool);
- 4 of 6 + bonus number = €100-€200 (0.81% of prize pool);
- 4 of 6 = €50 (5.24% of prize pool);
- 3 of 6 + bonus number = €25(3.49% of prize pool); and
- 3 of 6 = €9
Players who match 2 of 6 numbers to win the lowest prize tier win a €2-€3 Scatch Card.
Lotto Plus 1 and 2 prizes are fixed amounts. The jackpot prizes for each game do not rollover if they are not won in a particular draw. Lotto Plus 1 has seven tiers:
- Match 6 main numbers = €500,000 prize;
- Match 5 main numbers and bonus number = €5,000 prize;
- Match 5 main numbers = €500 prize:
- Match 4 main numbers and bonus number €50 prize;
- Match 4 main numbers = €20 prize;
- Match 3 main numbers and bonus number = €10 prize; and
- Match 3 main numbers = €3 Scratch Card.
Lotto Plus 2 has six prize tiers:
- Match 6 main numbers = €250,000 prize;
- Match 5 main numbers and bonus number = €2,500 prize;
- Match 5 main numbers = €250 prize;
- Match 4 main numbers and bonus number = €25 prize;
- Match 4 main numbers = €10 prize; and
- Match 3 main numbers and bonus number = €5 prize.
Lotto 5-4-3-2-1 prizes are based on which game the player plays, the number of numbers they predict, and how much they bet. All prizes are a set amount.
Prizes for the 6 Number Game are:
- 5 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €125,000, €2 bet – €250,000, €3 bet – €375,000, €4 bet – €500,000, and €5 bet – €625,000;
- 4 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €6,000, €2 bet – €12,000, €3 bet – €18,000, €4 bet – €24,000, and €5 bet – €30,000;
- 3 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €550, €2 bet – €1,100, €3 bet – €1,650, €4 bet – €2,200, and €5 bet – €2,750;
- 2 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €45, €2 bet – €90, €3 bet – €135, €4 bet – €180, and €5 bet – €225; and
- 1 number predicted = €1 bet – €6, €2 bet – €12, €3 bet – €18, €4 bet – €24, and €5 bet – €30.
Prizes for the 7 Number Game are:
- 5 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €40,000, €2 bet – €80,000, €3 bet – €120,000, €4 bet – €160,000, and €5 bet – €200,000;
- 4 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €3,000, €2 bet – €6,000, €3 bet – €9,000, €4 bet – €12,000, and €5 bet – €15,000;
- 3 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €275, €2 bet – €550, €3 bet – €825, €4 bet – €1,100, and €5 bet – €1,375;
- 2 numbers predicted = €1 bet – €32, €2 bet – €64, €3 bet – €96, €4 bet – €128, and €5 bet – €160; and
- 1 number predicted = €1 bet – €5, €2 bet – €10, €3 bet – €15, €4 bet – €20, and €5 bet – €25
The Irish Lotto Jackpots:
The Lotto jackpot is a guaranteed €2 million and increases after each draw in which it is not won. However, the jackpot is currently capped at €18.96 million. If the jackpot reaches €18.96 million and is not won, the revenue from future draws that would have normally been used to increase the jackpot prize is instead used to increase the prize pool for the 5 of 6 numbers plus the bonus number prize tier.
The highest jackpot ever won in the Irish Lotto was €18.9 million. This jackpot was won in 2006. A 16 player Syndicate of co-workers from the Dan Morrisey Quarry purchased a €32 Quick Pick ticket to win the jackpot on June 28, 2008. A couple from Dungarvan, Co Waterford holds the record (€16.7 million) for the biggest jackpot won by a single ticket holder. The couple set this record on April 14, 2010.