Lotto $50m Powerball: Kiwis warned to buy tickets in time - or miss out

Lotto is warning Kiwis who want to be in to win the massive $50 million Powerball jackpot tonight to get their ticket early to avoid the queues.

Ticket sales close at 7:30pm and stores are already being swamped around the country, with "queues out the door" in some places.

Lotto says it's expecting "unprecedented demand both in-store and online in the lead-up to Saturday's 'must be won' draw".

"Stores around the country are buzzing as Kiwis pick up a ticket to be part of Lotto NZ history - we're seeing queues out the door in some places," says Marie Winfield, head of communications at Lotto NZ.

"Sales are typically at their peak after 5pm, so the busiest time in store and online is still to come.

"We recommend that anyone who wants a ticket for tonight's $50 million Powerball Must Be Won draw to get their ticket early."

Extreme demand for Lotto tickets

So far, more more than 1.3 million tickets have already been sold,  and Lotto NZ expects this to climb to around 2.5 million tickets tonight.

"There is an incredible buzz around the country as Lotto players from all over New Zealand get a ticket for the largest draw in Lotto history," Winfield says.

"There are already 1.3 million tickets in to win with tonight's draw - 1 million more than we have usually sold at the same point with a $5 million jackpot. That's a massive 300 percent increase - and the day's not over yet!

"We wish everyone around the country the best of luck for tonight's draw."