Lotto shop owners are expecting record crowds today as punters line up to buy a ticket in hope of winning the biggest prize in New Zealand history.

Tonight the $40 million Powerball draw must be won and Bay locals have been queueing up at Lotto outlets all week.

Greerton Lucky Lotto has had more than 20 wins in the past and owner Belinda Sands said they had been extra busy this week.

"In the 14 years I have been here, it's the busiest it's ever been in the shop."


She said a lot of people had said they would help out family or support charities if they won.

Most people who responded to an unscientific poll on the Bay of Plenty Times website said they would pay off debt if they won.

Oropi local Dee Sowry said she would do several things if she won, including paying off her mortgage, buying a Landrover, helping a charity and throwing a big party and inviting the staff from the Lucky Lotto shop.

Chief executive of Lotto NZ, Wayne Pickup, said they have seen more than 10 times the amount of normal traffic online, and yesterday there had been four times as many tickets sold every hour in comparison to the same time last week.

"This is the biggest prize ever on offer in New Zealand and there's a real sense of excitement about the draw this Saturday" said Mr Pickup. If there are no First Division winners tonight the jackpot moves down to the next division that has winners and the prize will be shared among them.