Christmas Lottery Blasted As Bonus Ball Robs 66 Punters With Five Numbers Of £24M Win

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The Christmas draw had to be won as it had exceeded £22.9million – but nobody matched all six numbers

LOTTO chiefs were blasted yesterday as 66 punters with five balls lost the £24.5million Christmas jackpot — to someone with five plus a bonus ball.

The prize had to be won as it had exceeded £22million — and went to a runner-up as no-one matched all six numbers.

The 66 who narrowly missed out got just £1,128 each.

Players have now demanded a bigger share for anyone matching five numbers — 144,000-1 odds.

Liz Taylor, 47, of Exeter — not in this week’s unlucky group — said: “The difference over a bonus ball is ridiculous.

“If cash was more equally split, more people would play. The Lottery’s got its sums very wrong.”

Alastair Vosper, 56, also of Exeter, said: “Players match five balls probably once a lifetime.

“The £1,1,00-odd is peanuts. I believe in more even prizes.”

Rules say 83.2 per cent of the total kitty goes into the jackpot.

Only 1.9 cent goes to those with five balls plus the bonus. Players matching five numbers share two per cent.

Punters once got far more for five numbers.

In 2007, 19 shared £1.1million and in 1997, a dozen divided £2.98million.

This week’s jackpot, the year’s largest, was rolled over ten times.

The winning numbers were 18, 36, 48, 57, 58 and 59, with the bonus 50.

Operator Camelot said of the cash split: “It’s the luck of the draw.”

BRITAIN’S thriftiest lottery winner celebrated Christmas in his tiny family home – 20 YEARS after he landed a £12.3m jackpot.

David Ashcroft, 51, has also continued to work at his furniture restorer firm round the corner from his house despite being a multi millionaire.

His numbers came up in May 1997 to make him the fourth biggest winner at the time and he instantly had enough to buy a mansion.

But incredibly he has continued to live in the £200,000 terraced property in Liverpool where he grew up with parents Roy and Jean and appears to still be single.

David has always been very secretive about his win and refused to say if he had now spent all his winnings during two decades.

His only big purchases are believed to be a caravan in North Wales and a 4×4 Mitsubishi understood to be for his parents.

David trained as a cabinet maker and furniture restorer and can still be seen making the short walk to a workshop close to his home most days.

Describing himself as a quiet introvert at the time of his win, he admitted he had never had a girlfriend and pondered whether Miss Right was out there.

He is also listed as running three property firms – two set up just after his big win.

When approached by The Sun he said: “I can’t talk about it. Camelot are dealing with all enquiries.”

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