Lotto: Extreme demand for tickets as buyers hope to win $50 million jackpot

Lotto organisers are experiencing an extreme demand for tickets ahead of Saturday night's must-be-won Powerball draw.

The company is expecting to sell more than 2 million tickets for the $50 million prize draw. 

If there are no first division winners, the entire jackpot rolls down to the next division where there are winners - likely the second division, or even third. If there is more one winner in that prize division, then the prize is shared evenly amongst all of the winners.

Ticket sales on Thursday were the largest on record for a Thursday in Lotto NZ history, said Lotto spokesperson Marie Winfield. A total of 500,000 tickets were purchased in-store and on MyLotto.

"Everyone around the country is dreaming about how they would spend $50 million, and with it being a must-be-won draw, the massive prize has to go," she said.  

"Whether it's one lucky winner or more, we're so excited that we'll be making more New Zealanders millionaires this week."

Saturday night's draw will be the sixth time in history that Powerball has reached must-be-won status, with a jackpot of over $30 million. In three of the five draws, the Powerball jackpot was split by multiple players.

The largest win in Powerball history came in November 2016 when an Auckland couple claimed $44 million.