Punters complain lottery has become too hard to win

Lott players are annoyed with
Lott players are annoyed with

There's a chance to win a staggering £15.7 million jackpot in the National Lottery tomorrow - but many punters aren't happy about it at all.

The huge prize is only available because of a series of six rollovers that left Saturday's £14.4 million jackpot unclaimed. And some regular players are now complaining that it's become too difficult to win.

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A Facebook group calling for the number of balls to be reduced from 59 back to 49 has attracted 558 members, many of whom say they have now switched to the Postcode Lottery instead.

"Following the, in my opinion, crackpot decision to increase the number pool from 49 to 59, surprise, surprise, we are faced with repetitive roll-overs which are becoming obscene," says Dave Jacombs, who has started a petition to the government on the topic.

"I advocate that all right-thinking people boycott The Lottery until the stake is restored to £1 per entry, the numbers are reverted to 49, the prize distribution is rationalised, and the roll-over is either abolished or limited to two or three draws."

When this point is reached, he suggests, the prize money should cascade down in a similar way to the football pools, where all available prize money is paid out for each draw.

Further infuriating punters is the fact that the National Lottery website crashed on Saturday two hours before 7.30pm deadline, leaving many people unable to buy tickets online.

The crash was caused by hackers, who overloaded the system using what's known as a DDoS attack.

"We're very sorry that many players are currently unable to access The National Lottery website or app. Our 46,000 retailers are unaffected," it said on Twitter. "Please accept our sincere apologies if you were unable to play tonight's games due to the website issue that affected many players."

However, some say that the National Lottery should have been better prepared.

"The motive for the DDoS attack remains a mystery, and we don't know if someone was attempting to blackmail the National Lottery – certainly other gambling sites have often been targeted in the past – by using the threat of bring the website down," says security expert Graham Cluley.

"One would expect the likes of the UK National Lottery to be aware that they were a potential target for attack, and have systems in place to reduce the opportunities for attackers to disrupt services through a DDoS attacks, but clearly their defences weren't enough to entirely deflect the assault on this occasion."