Just like the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland has a national lotto game known simply as the National Lottery. In Irish, it is called An Crannchur Náisiúnta) and it was launched in 1986. Lotteries are not as popular in Ireland as they are in the United Kingdom, but there are more games to choose from. A total of 6 different lotto games can be played, although two goliaths in the lotto worth stand out are the most popular. Irish lottery draws are shown on RTÉ One, and in the past, prizes worth up to €88m have been paid out.
Most popular Irish lotteries
The two most popular lotteries in Ireland are the National Lottery, and the EuroMillions draw. Several side-games have been developed from the main National Lottery game, and these include Lotto Plus, Lotto 5-4-3-2-1, Plus, Daily Million, All or Nothing, Millionaire Raffle, Telly Bingo, and various scratch card lotto games. None of them have matched the original Irish National Lottery and EuroMillions draws for prizes or popularity, though.
The National Lottery (An Crannchur Náisiúnta)
The Irish National Lottery is known in English simply as Lotto, and is a 45-ball lottery game. Six winning balls are drawn from the pot, as well as a bonus ball. Players are guaranteed to win at least €2 million if they can scoop the jackpot, and the jackpot rolls over until a player lands the jackpot win, with no cap on rollovers. Lotto tickets cost €2, and that has impacted the number of sales, which have dropped year-on-year. Players have a 1 in 8,145,060 chance of winning the National Lottery jackpot.
Lotto’s biggest win to date went to 16 friends at a quarry and concrete plant in Bennekerry, Carlow. They scooped €18.9 million in 2008.
Ireland also runs the EuroMillions game, with draws taking place every Tuesday and Friday. Tickets cost €2.50 a line, although players can win prizes which in the past have been worth upwards of €190m. Players are required to land 5 numbers out of 50, as well as 2 Lucky Star bonus balls out of 12. The odds of any kind of success in the pan-European EuroMillions are thought to be 1 in 22.
To date, the biggest winner of a EuroMillions cash prize in Ireland by a single winner is Dolores McNamada, from Limerick, who pocketed €115m in 2005. Two winners share a €132m jackpot back in 2016, with one of the winners coming from the Republic of Ireland.
Which lottery is the best?
Irish players are fiercely loyal to their National Lottery game, and when the UK launched their own game in 1994, the Irish turned down an invitation to join in, favouring their own lotto. However, Irish players have turned to EuroMillions en masse since it first appeared, leaving the National Lottery game lacking in popularity. Irish EuroMillions sales increase roughly 3.2% year-on-year, often at the expense of National Lottery tickets, so there is no doubt which lottery is favoured amongst Irish lotto players.