The Irish Regulator of the National Lottery has attacked supposed media ‘misinformation’ that led people to believe that the lottery’s €19m jackpot was ‘unwinnable’.
As reported by The Journal, the regulator accused the media of spreading false information to make it appear that the top jackpot was unattainable, ultimately instigating a change in the lottery’s rules.
From June 2021 until last month, the national lottery rolled over 62 times after failing to draw a winner in seven months. Since the jackpot is capped at €19m, it did not rise in four months, drawing criticism from sections of the media and politics.
The loudest of those voices was Bernard Durkan, who demanded an investigation into the lottery following the barren spell.
“It’s been almost six months since it was won. This didn’t happen in Ronan Collins’ day. The jackpot has been stuck at €19m since September,” he told the Irish Times, adding that a “full investigation and audit into the draw” should take place.
After months of speculation, Premier Lotteries Ireland, the national lottery operator, and the regulator agreed to change the rules to the lottery, allowing a ‘must-be-won’ draw after five consecutive rollovers of the €19m maximum jackpot.
However, via a Freedom of Information request, The Journal has obtained an email which suggests Carol Boate from the regulator was concerned about supposed misinformation that caused the rule change.
“Given the level of misinformation out there about the Lotto game, including descriptions of it being ‘unwinnable’ and false statements that the jackpot rollover monies are going to the operator, I believe it is essential that PLI counteracts this misinformation with factual information about Lotto wins and the returns to good causes related to this extended rollover,” Boate’s email read.
After a request for clarification of the source of the misinformation, a regulator spokesperson noted that “comments in the media, particularly on social media, that were inaccurate or misinformed regarding the Lotto game” at the time of the rule change.
“These included references to the lottery jackpot being ‘unwinnable’ and to jackpot rollover monies going to the benefit of the operator,” a statement read.