The year began with a series of rollovers which took the top prize up to £100.7 million (€132.3 million), before it was split between one ticket bought in France and another from Ireland on 29th January. A group of Irish friends came forward to claim their €66.1 million slice, admitting they were ‘dumbstruck’ by the good fortune.
The largest jackpot of the year was given away on Tuesday 11th October, when a participant from Belgium bagged €168 million (£153.3 million) to become the country’s biggest ever winner. The lucky player, a father of four from Brussels who worked in waste management, quickly claimed the prize and revealed that he wanted to share his win with ‘people in need’. He told Belgian National Lottery officials that he loved football, Robert De Niro films and cooking with fish.
The multimillionaire from Belgium was the first player to win the top prize after a number of EuroMillions changes came into effect on Saturday 24th September. The changes had been announced earlier in the summer and promised to create bigger jackpots, more often, with the number of Lucky Stars increasing from 11 to 12 and a number of other exciting new features introduced.
Two UK Millionaire Maker winners were guaranteed in every draw rather than the previous one, while Mega Week was launched to replace Mega Friday and give players the chance to win special prizes on a Tuesday as well as a Friday at the end of every month. The first Mega Week promotion sent ten lucky winners on a luxury 100-day holiday round the world on Tuesday 27th September, before a Superdraw raised the EuroMillions jackpot to £109 million (€130 million) for Friday’s draw.
The next Mega Week in October included the first ever European Millionaire Maker, with 25 millionaires created across the continent. French ticket holders came out on top in this special draw, claiming eight of the €/£1million prizes.
Big Syndicate Wins
One in five prizes are estimated to be won by syndicates, and playing in a group paid off handsomely for many players in 2016. A family from Monmouthshire in Wales joined forces to pocket €61.1 million on 29th July, having only decided to play because mum Sonia Davies had a very special reason to feel lucky. She had recently been in America to have keyhole surgery to remove a parathyroid tumour.
Another syndicate to strike it lucky was a group of bus drivers from Dublin, who picked up a magnificent jackpot of €23.8 million on Friday 1st July. The 22 members of the syndicate arrived by bus to pick up their cheque, before insisting they would all be going back to work.
One of the biggest news stories of the year came when the UK voted to leave the European Union, and it left some EuroMillions players questioning how it might affect their participation in the game. Players can be reassured that Brexit will not lead to the UK leaving EuroMillions, but there have been some subtle differences due to the fluctuating exchange rate between the pound and the Euro, leaving jackpots worth more to UK players than they were before Brexit.
UK players have enjoyed another strong year on EuroMillions and currently sit third in the table of the most successful countries, behind France and Spain, going into 2017. There are sure to be more big winners, special draws and huge jackpots up for grabs over the next 12 months, and tickets remain available online or from authorised retailers in the nine participating countries. Good luck!