Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Last minute rush for Lotto tickets with $30 million up for grabs

Tonight's Powerball prize has reached $30 million. Photo / Michael Bradley
Tonight's Powerball prize has reached $30 million. Photo / Michael Bradley

Lotto fever is beginning to spread across the country as punters seek to score tonight's mammoth $30 million Powerball prize.

People are heading to stores where big-winning tickets have been sold before, hoping the luck of winners past rubs off on them ahead of the draw at 8pm.

The last mega-prize was $22.2 million won by an Ashburton couple in April, and a spokesman for Countdown Ashburton said the win had stirred up excitement in the small town about the jackpot.

"Sales have been going very strongly, I'm looking out at the Lotto desk now and there's eight people queued up.

"We've been very solidly busy from about 12.30pm today.

"There's definitely been more interest over the last three or four weeks, and we've seen a jump in every draw since the big win."

He said Lotto sales at the store had increased by 50 per cent since April's windfall.

In June last year a ticket bought at Springfield Superette and Lotto in Rotorua won $24.3 million. Shopkeeper Rahul Patil said people have been coming from as far afield as Auckland and Wellington to cash in on the store's lucky reputation.

"It's very, very busy here. There's lots of people queuing up right now.

"We've got people coming to our shop from all over especially to buy tickets here."

Mr Patil said some punters were spending $200 on tickets for tonight's draw.

People lining up for Lotto tickets. Photo / Supplied
People lining up for Lotto tickets. Photo / Supplied

Te Kauwhata Four Square sold a winning ticket worth $26.5 million to Countdown worker Trevor Cooper in March 2012, but a shop spokesman said memories of that win four years ago had faded.

"It's fairly steady at the moment, we're expecting a mad rush at 5pm. Being a $30 million prize will mean there will be a big rush, it hasn't reached that much in a long time.

"A few of our customers do mention Trevor and it's a small town, but I think most people have forgotten about that."

Lotto spokeswoman Emilia Mazur said full information on ticket sales would be available once the draw is completed, but they anticipated to sell more than one million tickets.

"Traditionally our largest ticket sales come between 5 and 6pm, so that's when most people will be getting them."

- NZ Herald

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