Jackpot fever brings out superstitions

Customers at South Dunedin’s Night ’n Day store moved in and out of the line with strange irregularity yesterday.

While it may have seemed odd to some to watch a customer step out of the queue, only to enter it again a couple of people back, it made perfect sense to the owner of the store.

A $42million Lotto Powerball, which will be drawn tonight, was the kind of event which brought out rituals and superstitions among customers purchasing Lotto tickets.

South Dunedin’s Night ’n Day owner Murray Devereux said such behaviour was not uncommon at the store, which was among Otago’s luckiest Lotto outlets, as some customers believed buying a ticket at a certain time would lift their chance of hitting the jackpot.

He said sales had picked up significantly and another ritual some customers had was wanting to buy a ticket from a lucky shop.

The store’s winning ticket success in the past gave customers a lot of hope.

"We got off to a flying start when we opened.

"In the first four months, we sold three [winning] first division tickets and a [winning] powerball ticket as well as a top prize on a scratchie."

Pak’nSave in Dunedin was revealed as the luckiest Lotto shop in Otago yesterday.

It has had 26 first division lotto family wins.

South Dunedin’s Night ’n Day was the second luckiest as it has had 17 wins to date.

Mr Devereux believed they were luckier than Pak’nSave.

"If you base it off how many tickets are sold, in relation to the wins ... we are probably luckier than they are."

University of Otago statistician Matthew Perry put to bed some misconceptions about the odds of winning the big prize.

He said the probability was fixed no matter how many people bought tickets for the lottery.

"It just depends on the numbers that come out [but the] more people play, more people are likely to win so, therefore, your payout slightly gets smaller," Dr Perry said.

The chance of winning Powerball still remained about one in 38million.

If you were the only winner, $42million in the bank at 3% interest would give you a massive $1.26million a year.



I am still unsure why we allow media to advertise for Lotto. It's essentially gambling and while I encourage people to do as they want with their money, why are papers like the ODT and the Herald allowed to push these kind of stories?