Two women, one from Essex and one from Northamptonshire, have been announced as the latest winners of the premium bonds £1m jackpot.
While these lucky bondholders have become overnight millionaires, a further 3.1m prizes have been handed out by the NS&I, ranging from £25 to £100,000.
We explain who won this month’s major prizes and whether women or men are more likely to claim the millions.
September 2018 premium bonds winners
This month, the winners were found in the east and middle of the UK, with two women visited by Agent Million to deliver the news of their windfall.
The woman from Essex has a total of £31,575 invested and bought her winning bond in May 2003. The winning number was 033BV820007.
The Northamptonshire winner, on the other hand, had invested the maximum amount of £50,000. She is just the second premium bonds jackpot winner from that region.
Her winning bond, number 254PS792183, was bought in August 2015.
Aside from the two top prizes, a further 3,117,186 prizes were handed out, worth a total of £89,099,575.
Five prizes worth £100,000 were awarded this month, to winners in Essex, Suffolk, Greater Manchester, West Sussex and Lancashire.
Of these, one bondholder had first purchased their winning bond in March 1998 – more than 20 years ago.
- Everything you need to know about premium bonds
Do women win more often than men?
Both major jackpot winners this month were women, so does that mean one gender tends to be luckier?
Actually, analysis of all £1m jackpot winners shows men have a slight edge on the top prize.
Of the £1m prizes awarded since the jackpot was launched in April 1994, 175 (44%) of the winners have been women, and 214 (56%) have been men.
Since August 2014, there have been two million-pound jackpots up for grabs. In that period, the prizes have gone to two different genders on 28 occasions.
Two women have won 12 times, while two men have won 11 times.
Which gender holds more premium bonds?
While men have taken home the jackpot more often, women are actually more likely to invest in premium bonds.
Data from October 2017 shows that women hold slightly more bonds than men, though the split is fairly even at 51% to women and 49% to men.
Of course, that reflects current holdings – it’s possible men previously held a higher number of bonds.
Is the draw truly random?
It may be tempting to look for patterns in the winners to try to identify who has the ‘best chance’ of winning. But the premium bonds prize draw is truly random, with the winning bond numbers produced by number generator, Ernie.
Every bond has an equal chance of winning, and every bond is entered into every draw.
Any patterns – such as in 2015, where at least one woman won in every single month – are pure coincidence.
The only way of increasing your odds of winning is by buying more bonds, as the more you own, the more entries you have.
If you own £1,000 worth of bonds, the probability of winning any prize over 12 months is around 49%. But if you hold £10,000 worth, your probability increases to 99.99%.
NS&I puts the prize fund rate at 1.14%. This means a person of average luck is likely to make approximately that return.
That said, there’s no guarantee of winning, and even if your probability is 99.99%, you’re most likely to win one of the low-value prizes.
You can find out more in our guide to premium bonds.