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Glitches ahead of draw for record £57.8 million jackpot

Published 09/01/2016

Players are urged to buy tickets well in advance of tonight's draw to avoid overloading the website
Players are urged to buy tickets well in advance of tonight's draw to avoid overloading the website

The National Lottery website experienced some glitches as an "unprecedented" number of last-minute buyers rushed for their chance to win the record £57.8 million jackpot.

Camelot said it expected to have sold at least 400 tickets per second, online and across retailers, in the last hours before sales stopped at 7.30pm on Saturday.

The jackpot passed the £50 million cap on Wednesday and if no single ticket turns up the full six numbers, it will roll down to the next closest ticket. This could be a ticket matching five main numbers and the bonus ball.

A spokesman for Camelot said: "This is certainly an unprecedented level of sales - one of the highest selling draws we have ever had.

"The National Lottery website has continued to process ticket sales, but we are sorry for anyone who has experienced problems this evening.

"There have been great levels of excitement leading up to tonight's draw, which is great as the higher the sales, the more we can give to charitable causes."

TV star Noel Edmonds will push the button to start the draw which will be aired on BBC One at 9.55pm.

The Deal Or No Deal host , who presided over the first ever draw in November 1994, said: "I'm absolutely delighted to be taking part in tonight's Lotto's record breaking draw.

"I was honoured to be asked to host the first National Lottery draw and I'm proud to be pushing the button tonight on such a historic occasion.

"The life-changing jackpot has to be won so I'd like to wish every National Lottery player the best of luck."

Earlier Sally Cowdry, Camelot's consumer and retail director, told the BBC: "As the jackpot rises, people get excited and more people pay. Tonight at least someone will win."

She also assured the public that National Lottery winners have the right to remain anonymous.

She said: "We support people after the win, including helping with their choice if they want to stay anonymous. Good luck to everybody."

The jackpot must be won tonight after 14 rollovers.

New rules, which come into play when a jackpot passes £50 million, dictate that if no players match all six numbers, the prize will be shared between winners in the next tier where there is at least one winner - most likely those who have just five main numbers and the bonus ball.

The recent run of rollovers follows the number of balls in the draw increasing from 49 to 59 in October, reducing the odds on a player's six numbers coming up from around one in 14 million to one in 45 million.

Tonight's prize eclipses the previous highest jackpot of £42 million shared by three winners in 1996.

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