Featherston wins lucky Lotto crown

By Cassandra Mason

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LUCKY: Featherston Lotto and Post is Wairarapa's luckiest shop for Lotto winnings.
LUCKY: Featherston Lotto and Post is Wairarapa's luckiest shop for Lotto winnings.

A Featherston Lotto shop has been named Wairarapa's luckiest after selling tickets worth $514,000 in prize money last year.

Punters pocketed $514,000 in winnings from tickets purchased at Featherston Lotto and Post - including the region's single biggest win of $333,333.

South Wairarapa was the region's luckiest Lotto district, with per capita winnings of $116.90, followed by $65.97 in Carterton and $55.41 in Masterton.

Manager of Featherston Lotto and Post Tania Tenquist said there had been a jump in customers looking to buy from their "lucky store".

"A few months ago we had our First Division winner, and after that we had three extra prizes and were considered lucky. So everyone passing through were coming in here and buying their tickets."

Some of the shop's regular customers had been playing their lucky numbers "since Lotto began", she said.

"They will just keep taking the same numbers over and over again because they're worried that if they don't, their numbers will come up."

Tararua topped the table as New Zealand's luckiest area per capita last year, having briefly relinquished the title in 2012 when a massive Powerball win in Te Kauwhata put Waikato in the lead.

Waitemata and Gulf ward came in second with $475.26 per capita in winnings, followed by Taupo with $333.74.

Nationally, the most lucrative ticket was sold at One Step Ahead in Ponsonby - winning one punter $33 million.

The ticket made the central Auckland shop the country's luckiest in terms of dollar winnings for the year.

"In the 2012/13 year, Lotto New Zealand transferred $201.8 million to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board to provide funding for Sport New Zealand, Creative New Zealand, Film New Zealand and more than 3000 community organisations and projects," Lotto spokeswoman Emilia Mazur said.

However, NZ Problem Gambling Foundation marketing and communications director Andree Roude said Lotto players were "buying into a dream".

About $765 million was spent on Lotto and Big Wednesday in 2013, she said.

"[Lotto] is gambling. A lot of people don't put it into the same category [because] it's one of the less harmful forms of gambling compared to pokie machines."

Buying a Lotto ticket was less addictive than the "instant gratification" of pokies.

However, "the harm from Lotto can come in when people are spending much more than they can afford ... where the family budget to buy food might be going on Lotto tickets because there's a huge jackpot".

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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