Ahead of the excitement of last night's $38 million Powerball draw, 1.85 million Lotto tickets were bought by hopeful punters.

When averaged out across New Zealand's population, it's the equivalent of 39 per cent of Kiwis getting one ticket each.

In comparison, the previous Saturday's $34 million Powerball jackpot saw 1.3m tickets sold.

July's $40 million Powerball Must Be Won draw attracted record sales, with more than 2.7m tickets entered into the draw.


But this Wednesday's $44 million Powerball jackpot is the largest prize ever on offer in New Zealand history, and it must be won - so sales are likely to soar.

In a Must Be Won draw, if no single ticket wins Powerball First Division the prize pool rolls down to the next highest division with winners.

In July, three players from Hamilton, Te Awamutu and Dunedin shared a Must Be Won Powerball jackpot of $40 million, taking home $13.3 million each.

If Wednesday's draw is won by a single ticket holder, the prize will be the largest ever won in New Zealand.

That record is currently held by a Big Wednesday player who in July 2009 bought the winning ticket from Kuripuni Lotto and Post Shop in Masterton.

Top five lottery prizes won in New Zealand
1. $36.8 million, June 2009, Kuripuni Lotto and Post Shop Masterton, Big Wednesday
2. $33 million, September 2013, One Step Ahead, Ponsonby, Auckland, Powerball
3. $28.7 million, October 2010, Mobil Papakura, Auckland, Powerball
4. $27 million, October 2010, AJ's Lotto, Tauranga, Big Wednesday
5. $26.5 million, March 2012, Te Kauwhata Four Square, Powerball