Rotorua Lotto players are turning to superstitions, strategies and spending up large in an effort to up their chance of winning $35 million this weekend.

Powerball rolled over on Wednesday and jackpotted from $32m to $35m for tonight's draw.

It has yet to reach the $50m threshold for a Must Be Won draw, but City Books and Lotto owner Kirsty Evans said ticket sales had nonetheless been "through the roof".

Mega prizes attracted people who did not play regularly, as well as changing the behaviour of frequent players.


"Since it hit $30m people have been spending quite considerably more money, and it's not just work syndicates - individuals too," she said.

Usually, most people spent around $20 on a ticket but this week she had seen a surge in players willing to shell out $126 for a combo Powerball ticket.

She said others would wait until minutes before sales closed at 7.30pm to buy their ticket in a superstitious effort to get the "lucky last" one.

"Everybody has got that 'what would you do' mentality."

"Everybody" included Evans, who has owned her Tutanekai St store for more than 10 years but "wouldn't come in tomorrow" if she won the big one.

"I have my dreams just like everybody else, but Mr Lotto has not come through for me yet."

Bavan Kaur from the Lucky Lottery Shop said she had also seen a lift in sales, especially of the pricier combos. Some people were buying 10 or 20 tickets at once.

She said it was not just locals getting in on the action. She had a few groups of international tourists come in to buy tickets after hearing about the big prize.

By the numbers

1696: number of Lotto draws to date
1: most frequently drawn number in Lotto's history (332 times), followed by 13 and 7
28: least frequently drawn number (271 times), followed by 34 and 4
2: most drawn Powerball number (125 times)
9 and 10: least drawn Powerball numbers (58 times)
$44,066,667: largest Lotto prize ever won, 9 November 2016
$50m: threshold for a Must Be Won Powerball draw

Source: Lotto NZ