Queues are forming across the country as every man and his dog rush to get a Lotto ticket in order to have a chance at the $38 million up for grabs in tonight's draw.

The last hour is ticking down until those six balls, one bonus ball and the important powerball come whirling out of the machine and decide whether someone is decidedly richer.

As you stand in line waiting to get you hands on that yellow slip of numbers full of promises, take a moment to say your thanks to the counter staff who have worked tirelessly over the past few days to bring some lucky person their ultimate dream.

May the odds be in your favour, but also to the thousands of stores distributing said tickets and hoping to revel in the acclaim associated with selling the winning ticket.


Unichem Stortford Lodge in Hawke's Bay knows just how that feels, having sold 45 First Division winning tickets for Lotto, Powerball and Strike in the past 30 years, making it New Zealand's luckiest store.

Business manager Carole Ormerod said the store is hoping to sell another winner for tonight's draw after being flat-out busy since it opened its doors this morning.

"It is one the busiest days the store has had, but it was similar to other big Lotto draws," she said.

"The store is well known so people come from out of town to purchase their tickets."

She said people were buying more than one ticket and there had been quite a few syndicates where multiple people put in a certain amount of money.

"You start seeing that sort of thing once it gets over $30 million."

People queue for tickets at Unichem Stortford Lodge Pharmacy, New Zealand's luckiest Lotto store.
People queue for tickets at Unichem Stortford Lodge Pharmacy, New Zealand's luckiest Lotto store.

She said if the $38m was not won tonight, the store would remain busy until the jackpot is won.

"The higher it gets the busier it gets, so if it doesn't go tonight then Saturday will be mega busy as well."

Nelson's Richmond Night 'N Day has also faced queues out the door being New Zealand's second-equal luckiest Lotto store, having sold 32 first division wins, along with Pak 'N Save Riccarton in Christchurch.

Owner David Smolenski said he had three extra staff on to combat the last-minute rush.

"We have been very steady all day long and now there are queues out the door.

"We have three tills rocking and it has been pretty good."

He said when Powerball is this high "it just brings everything up to another level".

"Obviously we want to sell the big winner and share in somebody's good fortune because that is what it is all about."

If the $38 million is won by a single person it will be the second-largest prize won in New Zealand history, with the highest being $44 million which was won last November.

If tonight's Powerball is not struck, the prize has the potential to reach a must-win jackpot of $50 million; a change announced by Lotto NZ this year.

Sales of tickets close at 7.30pm, with the draw taking place just after 8pm tonight.