Year starts with bang for lottery winners

As Kiwis carefully checked their Powerball tickets last night to see if they'd won the $6 million jackpot, others were doing the same in Britain and Australia for far bigger rewards. Photo / Supplied
As Kiwis carefully checked their Powerball tickets last night to see if they'd won the $6 million jackpot, others were doing the same in Britain and Australia for far bigger rewards. Photo / Supplied

As Kiwis carefully checked their Powerball tickets last night to see if they'd won the $6 million jackpot, others were doing the same in Britain and America for far bigger rewards.

There must be something in the air when it comes to big prizes. A Queensland couple this week claimed A$70 million ($74 million) in a Powerball draw, equal to the largest lottery win in Australia's history.

The Hervey Bay grandparents won the entire division-one prize.

"The best thing we've ever won is the odd chook raffle," the woman said. She had told her husband that this year she had decided to win Lotto. "It was my resolution to bring more positivity into my life."

The couple, who wished to remain anonymous, said they would help family and give to charity before spending on themselves.

"We haven't done much travel in our lives, but now we're off," the man said.

Elissa Lewis from Tatts Lotteries said the couple had struck largest win on a single Powerball ticket.

In 2008 one ticket bought in Melbourne won A$58.7 million.

Lewis said the odds of winning on a six-game entry were "one in just over 12 million".

Meanwhile in Britain, millions of National Lottery tickets were sold before Saturday night's draw (11am today NZT) for a record £57.8 million ($128m) jackpot.

Tickets were selling tickets at the rate of 400 a second.

But the biggest haul of all is in America where the jackpot for yesterday's Powerball drawing was estimated at US$800 million ($1.22 billion) after no one picked Wednesday's winning numbers.

If not struck this week the jackpot is expected to hit US$1 billion next week.

There have been 18 draws since a Tennessee ticket holder won a US$144.1m jackpot on November 4.

The previous high for a Powerball jackpot was US$590.5 million in May 2013. The largest US lottery prize before now was US$656 million in a March 2012 Mega Millions drawing.

Powerball is available in 44 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Powerball winners may choose to be paid in 30 graduated instalments or choose cash instead.

- Herald on Sunday

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