Online or instore: Can you increase your chance of a Lotto win by holding that yellow ticket?

Does the number of people who bought tickets make an overall difference to your odds? Photo: File
Photo: File
Will buying online or heading in-store boost your chances of striking it big in Lotto?

Should you take a drive through the lucky-Lotto region of Waikato or head to Meg Star in Henderson which sold two big winning tickets in the same month?

If you go by Lotto NZ's data from last year, 64 per cent of the first division winners picked up their ticket in-store compared to 36 per cent who bought a ticket via the MyLotto online channel.

Skip to this year though and four of the first five Powerball winning tickets were bought through MyLotto - a bit of a winning streak for online.

A Lotto spokesperson said there had been an increase in the number of online sales because of Covid-19 lockdowns, so the number of wins had also increased.

The big wins this year include a $21 million win in January, a $8.5m win in February and two Powerball wins in April.

Without a doubt one of the biggest benefits of buying online was the security of the ticket - no unclaimed prizes, nothing through the wash or thrown out in error.

The April Powerball winners were a case in point after they bought their winning ticket online through MyLotto.

The pair were lying in bed on Sunday morning when they received an email telling them they had a prize to claim.

The couple said they buy a ticket for most draws and love having a ticket to dream about what they would do if they struck the big win.

"I checked my emails and saw one from Lotto NZ saying I had a prize to claim on MyLotto. I'd never received an email like that before, so immediately turned to my wife and asked her to have a look," said the man.

"We jumped out of bed and raced to the living room, grabbed the laptop and pulled up MyLotto. We sat together and watched as it checked the ticket – there was one number, then another, then another … and before we knew what was going on, every number on the line was circled," the man said.

"That's when I saw the prize amount staring back at me - $8,500,000! I looked at my wife and she looked at me – then we both jumped up started hugging and dancing, with our dog jumping around our feet – he had no idea what was going on, but could tell there was something to be excited about."

The man said he had always dreamed of having a boat so was going to "tick that one off the list".

They also had an overseas trip planned - flying business class.

"It's something we've always said we'd love to try just once – so this feels like a good time to give it a go and see if it's worth the fuss."

For those Lotto players who prefer to buy instore and pop the distinctive yellow ticket in their wallet, a trip to Pokeno might be on the cards.

Earlier this year the Waikato District was revealed as the luckiest region for Lotto winners with a big $42.2m win in the town previously famous for its bacon.

The big win pushed the per capita total to $842.19 and pushed Waikato to the top of the Lotto region leader board.

The Mackenzie Country was the second-luckiest region and the Matamata-Piako District third.

But when buying in person - remember to check that yellow ticket.

A recent $28m Lotto Powerball ticket sat in an Auckland grandmother's handbag all weekend before she had a pile of tickets checked at her local store.

The woman thought nothing of the tucked-away Powerball ticket until she saw the owners of the store in the headlines.

"I imagined a little about what I would do if I was the lucky winner – but that was it, I didn't seriously think it was me," the woman said.

It wasn't until the Monday when the woman was out shopping and checked a collection of tickets that her life changed.

"One of them won me a bonus ticket, which I thought was pretty good – then when I scanned the next one I saw 'First Division' appear on the screen," she said.

"I just couldn't make sense of it, so I took the ticket to the counter and asked the lady to check it again for me.

"That's when she called the store owner over and they pointed at the sign saying 'big winner sold here' and whispered to me 'that's you'.

The jackpot-winning ticket was bought from Meg Star in Henderson. The store counts itself lucky as it has sold another $1m winning ticket since then.

Despite Waikato holding the gong for the luckiest region, three of the five biggest Powerball wins of all times were sold in Auckland.

The record-breaker was the ticket sold in November at the Dairy Flat Food Mart and Liquor store in Auckland which made someone $44.1m richer overnight.

The most recent was a $42.2m ticket sold in October 2021 at Countdown in Pokeno.

Store manager Jatinder Chahal said just after the big win there had been a real buzz in the store and community.

The supermarket team was "walking on air" after playing a part in one of New Zealand's biggest Lotto wins.

A spokesperson from Lotto NZ said despite the data the odds were the same whether you bought a ticket online or instore.

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