We're spending more than ever on chasing the elusive dream of a Lotto win.
More than 5 million Lucky, Power and Triple Dip lotto tickets were sold in the Western Bay of Plenty in the past three financial years - costing ticket buyers more than $78m, New Zealand Lotteries Commission figures show.
The number of ticket sales was highest in 2011/12, at 1,882,438 dip sales. Sales dropped off to 1,673,645 in 2012/13 and rose again to 1,833,068 in the last financial year.
Ticket buyers spent the most in the last financial year. Last year, dip tickets totalled $27,443,465 in the Western Bay. Dip tickets were between $6 and $26 each, depending on the number of Lotto, Powerball and Strike lines purchased.
More than $68m was won in the region across all games and divisions in the three year period.
Five Western Bay ticket buyers were lucky enough to beat the 3,838,380:1 odds of winning first division on a line. First division wins had an average pay out of more than $400,000.
The 639,730:1 odds of winning second division on a line were bet by 56 Western Bay shoppers. The average payout of second division wins was $20,159.
According to Lotto, the Bay's biggest wins in the last three years were a $9.3m Powerball win at Mount Paper Power in June 2013 and a $27m Big Wednesday win at AJ's Lotto in September 2013.
The region's luckiest store since draws began in August 1987 - based on the number of first division, Lotto Family and Big Wednesday wins - was Bayfair Lotto at Bayfair Shopping Centre in Mount Maunganui, the Lotteries Commission said.
Last year, the store sold 53,999 winning tickets, with combined winnings of $2,675,102. The store has had 18 first division winners since its opening.
Bayfair Lotto co-owner Diane Parker, who had owned the store for about two and a half years, said some customers made pilgrimages to the store because they had heard it was the region's luckiest.
Some were regulars from the area and others were out-of-towners passing through, she said.
The pre-Christmas rush was similar to last year, with a lot of people buying tickets for Christmas presents, particularly with last Sunday's release of a special Christmas Triple Dip with 200 extra prizes, she said.
New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services chief executive Raewyn Fox cautioned ticket buyers about the need to prioritise spending.
"We haven't had any major issues with Lotto, but the same goes for it - as for all discretionary spending - make sure you've paid the bills and bought the essentials first," she said.
In general, it seemed people were being quite careful and holding back on big purchases this Christmas, she said. "Don't buy anything that's not affordable in your budget."