The start of 2016 could be life-changing for one lucky Lotto winner after the jackpot for Saturday’s draw reached the highest ever single prize in the game’s history.
An estimated £46.5 million is up for grabs, eclipsing the previous jackpot record of £42 million shared by three ticket-holders in 1996, meaning a single winning ticket would see the holder instantly scoop the largest sum ever claimed.
A National Lottery spokesman said: “The largest Lotto jackpot the nation has ever seen is waiting to be won on Saturday. If a single ticket-holder wins the estimated £46.5 million jackpot they will be the biggest Lotto jackpot winner ever.”
The current biggest Lotto jackpot win on a single ticket was in 1995 when work colleagues Mark Gardiner and Paul Maddison, from Hastings, shared £22.5 million.
The biggest individual winner is Iris Jeffrey, from Belfast, who won £20.1 million in 2004.
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, a single person taking the entire jackpot would see their winnings eclipse the riches of former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who is worth an estimated £40 million.
Their new-found wealth would put them in a similar financial league to some of the country’s richest celebrities, including singer Adele, who is worth around £50 million, and tennis star Andy Murray, who has about £48 million.
If £46 million was broken down into £50 notes they would cover 89 miles – roughly the distance from London to Leicester – if laid end to end, or around 101 metres, just over the height of Big Ben, if stacked.
But the record may go unbroken – once the Lotto jackpot reaches or exceeds £50 million, the jackpot money – if it remains not won – will roll into the next draw when it must be won.
If no ticket matches all six numbers then the jackpot prize is shared between winners in the next tier where there is at least one winner.