UK vs Ireland: The biggest lotto jackpot winners

29th April 2022

Various types of lottery are played all over the world and, while they might be called different names, the aim is usually the same. Players must choose six numbers and must match two or more with those drawn in the game.
It might sound easy but with odds sitting at around 1 in 45,057,474 and millions of people joining in every week, matching six numbers and the bonus ball number is easier said than done. Of course, it has been done though and, in this article, we compare the biggest winners from the UK and Ireland’s international jackpots and some other interesting facts.

The UK’s Lotto

Having first begun in 1994, just two years later, three ticket holders won a share of £42 million which was the biggest win that had ever been seen. Each of the players walked away with £14 million. Next up, in July 2014, a woman from Belfast won £20 million. Iris Jeffrey was the only winner that drew the correct numbers and walked away with the full amount.

The third biggest jackpot totalled £22.5 million and was won in June 1995. A pair of business partners, Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison, actually bought the ticket together so decided to split the winnings! A couple from Peterborough – Gerry and Lisa Cannings – won the full £32.5 million jackpot in February 2016, making them the second biggest winners.

Just a month before, in January 2016, the biggest ever jackpot was won. With a total figure of £66 million, the winnings were split into two – giving Mr and Mrs Martin from the Scottish Borders, and an anonymous ticket holder each £33 million.

At the moment there isn’t a cap when it comes to the National Lottery jackpot. However, if the jackpot isn’t won, it rolls over for up to five weeks before a game is played that guarantees the money will be won.


Ireland’s Lotto


Having first been played in 1988, Ireland’s Lotto’s biggest ever win took place this year after a single ticket in County Mayo scooped the jackpot of €19 million in a ‘Must Be Won’ game. Previously, there hadn’t been a winner of the jackpot since June 2021 but changes to the rules meant that a payout must happen. What’s more, the ticket came from a family syndicate in Castlebar and they revealed they’d be spending the money on services in the local community.

The next biggest win was in 2008 when a group of workers at the Dan Morrissey quarry in County Carlow won €18.9 million. Despite winning more than €1 million each, some staff members turned up for work the next day! In 2010, €16.7 million was won by a single ticket after months of rollovers. The ticket was bought in Dungarvan but the winner chose to stay anonymous.

Since its inception, the UK’s National Lottery and the Irish lotto have created nearly 10,000 millionaires. You don’t even need to live in the UK or Ireland to enter the games and proceeds go towards charities and good causes too – so everyone’s a winner.