The operator of the National Lottery is seeking regulatory approval for a must-win draw.

It follows controversy as the jackpot has not been won since last June.

Both Premier Lotteries Ireland and the Regulator of the National Lottery appeared before the Oireachtas Finance Committee this afternoon.

CEO of Premier Lotteries Ireland, Andrew Algeo, told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that this particular jackpot of €19 million is winnable, and the long wait is highly unusual.

Asked by Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan how the proposed "must-be-won" draw would operate, Mr Algeo explained that if nobody wins the jackpot, by matching the top six numbers, the monies would instead be won by winners in the tiers below.

Today the lottery regulator explained that she would have to ensure there are no unintended consequences resulting from the change, before she can give it the green light.

Carol Boate told members: "I want to make sure it is correctly and appropriately described in the game rules and we also check for the impact on the risk of the game to players."

Chair of the Oireachtas Finance Committee, John McGuinness, was told that there has been €107 million in unclaimed lotto prizes since 2015, with €17 million collected last year.

Mairéad Farrell of Sinn Féin was told this money was used for promotion of the National Lottery.

While he did not provide details of how the money was used in promoting the National Lottery, Andrew Algeo said that such spending is monitored by the Regulator of the National Lottery.

Deputy Farrell said the purpose of the National Lottery was to give to good causes and it was a pity that unclaimed prizes were not used for this purpose.

She said that this should have been agreed when the National Lottery was privatised in 2015.

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Premier Lotteries Ireland was also criticised for creating a draw which has proven so difficult to win.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín told CEO Andrew Algeo that the system "isn't working properly" and the addition of more balls made the game harder to win.

The work of Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan in highlighting the "improbably long" lotto draw was commended by his colleague Neale Richmond, who put it to Mr Algeo that the request for a must-win draw would never have been made had the issue not been raised by Deputy Durkan.

Andrew Algeo said Premier Lotteries Ireland first approached the regulator about making such a change in early November.

The application was lodged on 7 December.

In a statement, Bernard Durkan said: "The introduction of this new 'must-win' prize is a welcome change from Premier Lotteries Ireland."

He added that a system that leads to 54 consecutive rollovers, before tonight’s draw, is flawed and "we need to see a long-term plan to ensure this does not continue into the future".

An associate maths professor at Dublin City University has said that the odds of the lottery rolling over 54 times in a row is very unlikely, yet the chances of winning the jackpot remain at just 12% for the latest draw.

Dr Brien Nolan told RTÉ's News at One that any one line bought has a one in 10.7 million chance of winning the jackpot as there are 10.7 million options for filling out a lottery ticket.

The lottery draw does not have a memory, he pointed out, so the odds of a win on today's draw remain the same and depend on how many tickets are sold.