The largest ever Lotto Powerball jackpot in the country’s history will be won on Saturday evening after the midweek game on Wednesday failed to find a winner. That prize total was a massive $42 million, but with nobody being able to match the six winning numbers and the Powerball, the jackpot rolled over and has now leapt up to a breathtaking $50 million.
Reaching that enormous figure means that Saturday’s draw ‘must be won’. If there are multiple people who all have the lucky numbers, the jackpot will be split between them. However, if nobody is lucky enough to get the correct numbers and scoop the massive prize, the money will filter down to ticket holders in the next prize tier.
Therefore, if there are no first division winners, the entire jackpot rolls down to the next division – meaning there could be multiple winners on the night from the second or third division.
Lotto NZ were estimating that between 1.5 million and 1.7 million tickets would sell for the midweek draw on Wednesday and are now estimating more than two million tickets will be sold for Saturday's record-breaking draw.
This will be the sixth time in the history of Powerball that it has reached a ‘must be won’ draw with a jackpot of over $30 million, and in three of the previous five draws, the Powerball jackpot was split by multiple players.
The first ‘must be won’ draw was in October 2008 when five players – two from Auckland, two from Wellington, and one from Reefton – split the $30.5 million jackpot, taking home $6.1 million each.
Three years later, a player from Dannevirke and another from Hamilton split a $35.2 million jackpot, each scooping $17.4 million. In September 2013, one player from Auckland landed a huge $33 million, which is currently the second single biggest win in Powerball history.
2016 brought us two ‘must be won’ draws. The first was in July when a player from Auckland, a player from Hamilton and a player from Dunedin split a $40 million jackpot and each banked $13.3 million. The jackpot had rolled over from $34 million jackpot in the previous draw.
In the same year, the highest win by a single ticket holder in New Zealand happened when a couple from Auckland scooped $44 million from a ticket that was sold at the Dairy Flat Food Mart and Liquor.
Meanwhile, six lucky Lotto players from all around the country have been celebrating after the midweek $1 million First Division prize was split between them, each scooping $166,667.
The winning First Division tickets were sold at: Four Square Coopers Beach, Northland; Countdown Mt Eden, Auckland; Trafalgar Lotto, Whanganui; online in Wellington; Nelson City New World and New World Centre City, Dunedin. According to NZ Lotto figures, the luckiest Lotto store in the country is Hawke's Bay's Unichem Stortford Lodge, with 49 ‘Division One’ wins.
Lotto Strike also rolled over in the week and will be $1 million on Saturday night – another prize that must be won on.
Each year, 100% of Lotto NZ’s profits go to over 3,000 worthy causes around New Zealand, and over the past decade, Lotto NZ has returned almost $2.2 billion in profits to communities across the country.