$22 million Lotto winners dish out advice

By Nicole Barratt

Get in early if you want a ticket for this Saturday's big draw. Sukhjit Singh is a dairy owner and Lotto seller in Rotorua. Photo / Stephen Parker
Get in early if you want a ticket for this Saturday's big draw. Sukhjit Singh is a dairy owner and Lotto seller in Rotorua. Photo / Stephen Parker

A couple who took home $22.4 million in a 2009 Lotto draw are planning to snatch up a ticket this week, and they've dished out some advice for New Zealand's next big winners.

The pair are regular Lotto players, and play most weeks "just because it's still fun".

The winner, who requested he remain anonymous, said when he won, his wife thought he was having her on.

"I heard on the radio that a ticket bought at Pak N Save Manukau had won the big one, so I pulled out my ticket and checked the numbers online. I just kept looking at it and I must have checked the numbers about 50 times."

He advised that the big winner this Saturday should let it sink in and then talk to a bank manager.

"Invest the money so you can earn interest. But keep a little bit of money aside to have fun. It feels so good to be able to chase our dreams."

He went back to work the next Monday like nothing had happened.

"That was the hardest part, walking around work thinking, one day soon, I'm not going to be here anymore."

The first thing the couple did was pay off their mortgage and buy a car. They said they put most of the money in a bank account that they couldn't touch for 12 months.

"We also bought homes for friends of ours. They were blown away! It was such an amazing feeling to be able to do that for them."

The couple regularly donate to charity, "it feels great to be able to give $10,000 or $15,000 here and there".

He said in some ways life hadn't changed at all.

"We haven't gone overboard with our winnings, we're still the same people."

The couple still work, although they left their jobs in Auckland and bought a fruit orchard.

The winners have managed to keep their win secret and haven't told people around them.

Lotto New Zealand has recommended Kiwis get in early if they want to avoid the last-minute rush.

Last night Lotto saw over 10 times the normal amount of traffic to MyLotto, with tens of thousands of players trying to get tickets at the same time.

Lotto outlets were buzzing across New Zealand today.

Jaydee Patel at Victoria St Lotto & Newsagents and Countdown Victoria St checkout operator Nilima Dwivedi both said they had been busy.

Ticket buyers told the Herald they would be paying off their mortgages, buying plane tickets and retiring early.

"It's statistically unlikely that you're going to get the top prize, but the money has to go anyway, so even if you get a lesser win you could still get something," said Josh Brookes, a 36-year-old banker.

Countdown Victoria St said they had sold nearly 1000 tickets just this morning.

Amidst the excitement of the $40 million draw, Lotto NZ is encouraging people to play responsibly.

"We'd like to remind our players to be realistic about the odds of winning and to only spend what they can afford. Responsible play is all about being informed, having fun and knowing your limits."

What you need to know:

• $40 million is up for grabs this Saturday

• It will be the largest Lotto prize won in New Zealand history

• It is a Must-be-won draw

• The six most frequently drawn winning numbers since 1987 are 1, 7, 12, 13, 18 and 21

• A Powerball of 2 has been drawn 111 times

• The biggest prize won by a single ticket was $36,890,255 in the Big Wednesday draw of June 2009

- NZ Herald

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