Saturday, November 21, 1998 Published at 20:18 GMT
Rich pickings in birthday lottery
Eight ticket holders have shared the £25m National Lottery jackpot.
The organisers, Camelot, expected and got a birthday ticket sales bonanza as people rushed to try their luck in Saturday night's pre-Christmas Superdraw.
The winning numbers were:
The bonus ball was 47.
Some 44 million tickets had been sold for the bonanza draw as punters hurried to beat the 1930(GMT) deadline.
The lucky winners each scooped £3,125,000 as the number of instant millionaires created by the Lottery topped 700.
Camelot reported that nearly £69m was spent on the draw.
Sales for Superdraws and rollovers usually soar in the final hours before the terminals close in the evening.
Twenty-five millionaires raised a glass of champagne to toast their own good fortune at London's Cafe Royal.
Camelot predicted Saturday night's Superdraw would create more lottery millionaires to join the ranks of the 695 jackpot winners created since the first draw in 1994.
Since then the lottery has become a national institution with more than 300 million winning tickets and prizes worth more than £7.4bn.
People around the country spend an average of £90m on the lottery each week, with £60m going on the Saturday draw and the rest on the Wednesday game.
Since the first draw in November 1994 that amounts to just over £16bn worth of sales.
However, lottery bosses say that it is not just those fortunate enough to match all six balls that have the luck of the draw.
Over the past four years more than £6bn has been raised for Good Causes to support both national and local projects.
Not always a winning ticket
But the lottery and organisers Camelot have not always had an easy ride.
Criticism followed an allegation that a £17m winner from Blackburn in Lancashire had been exposed to the press. Camelot denied the claim but gave extra assurances that winners wanting to remain anonymous could do so without fear.
There was further disquiet as the lottery began to roll over for a second week, yielding an enormous jackpot.
Bishops said the sum was grotesque and called for much smaller jackpots. Other church leaders said it was a bad influence, encouraging people to gamble.
However, none of this criticism seems to have quelled the nation's appetite and enthusiasm for the game with sales of £127.8m worth of tickets sold for one double rollover.