The Jackpot Cap Means Bigger Prizes for More Players
Usually, when the EuroMillions jackpot doesn’t get won, it increases in value for the following draw. A proportion of the ticket sales for every draw goes towards boosting the jackpot prize money, but if the jackpot hits its cap , that money needs to go somewhere else.
So now that we’re at that point, what happens to the money that would ordinarily go towards increasing the jackpot?
In short, it is used to increase the prize money for other winners in what’s known as a ‘rolldown.’
Say, for example, that there is £5 million from ticket sales that should go towards increasing the jackpot for the next draw. With the jackpot at its cap and unable to increase any further, that £5 million would instead be shared by the winners in the tier below – those players who match five numbers plus one Lucky Star.
Exactly that scenario occurred on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 . The jackpot reached its cap of €190 million so additional money was added to the second prize tier. One player in the UK matched five numbers plus one Lucky Star to win over £980,000, while three players in other European countries did likewise to win €1.5 million each.
Compare that to the previous draw, in which the same prize was worth £195,000 to UK players and €320,000 to those elsewhere in Europe, and it is clear how much value is added to other prizes when the jackpot hits its cap.
In the unlikely scenario that no one matches five numbers plus one Lucky Star, the money would be shared by players in the tier below – those who match just five numbers. This is where the term ‘rolldown’ comes from; the prize money ‘rolls down’ the different prize tiers until some winners are found.
Only Five Draws Allowed At the Cap
All good things must come to an end, though, and that includes record jackpots. Once the jackpot cap has been reached, only five more draws will take place before the prize money is guaranteed to be given away.
In that fifth draw at the cap the jackpot can still be won as normal by anyone who matches all five numbers and both Lucky Stars. If that doesn’t happen, the prize money will be split between all the winners in the second prize tier.
That has never happened in the history of EuroMillions, although there are a couple of draws from previous years that demonstrate what sort of prize money would be in play if it did happen.
September 2008 – Superdraw Rolldown
A EuroMillions Superdraw took place on Friday 26th September 2008, in which a jackpot of €130 million was up for grabs. Unlike the Superdraws of recent years, which have rolled over if they were not won, the rules of this particular draw stipulated that the entire €130 million had to be won, even if no one matched all the numbers to win the jackpot.
As it happened, no one did match all the numbers, so the money was shared between 15 players who won in the second prize tier, with each winner taking home over £7 million or €9 million. In the previous draw, the second prize was only worth £249,000 / €340,000.
November 2006 – 11-Draw Rollover Rolldown
Prior to November 2009, there was no jackpot cap in place at all. Instead, the EuroMillions jackpot was allowed to roll over a maximum of 11 times before it had to be given away.
In the draw on Friday 17th November 2006 that 11-draw rollover limit was reached, so the jackpot prize money, which stood at £120 million, had to be given away, whether someone matched all five numbers and both Lucky Stars or not.
No one did match all seven numbers, so the biggest rolldown in the history of EuroMillions occurred. A staggering 134 million entries were sold for the draw, so unsurprisingly there were a lot of winners. Twenty players, including seven in the UK , matched five numbers and one Lucky Star to win a share of the rolled down jackpot. The UK winners each took home £6.7 million, while the 13 other winners received €9.6 million each.
Such a scenario might play out again if the jackpot sticks at its current level until the draw on Tuesday 8th October, when it would have to be given away. With around 40 million entries bought for the most recent draw, however, the chances of the jackpot sticking at €190 million until then are pretty low.