Lotto Powerball: What happens if you lose your winning ticket

It's every Lotto player's worst nightmare: you finally win big only to lose the lucky ticket before cashing it in.

And although it's never actually happened with a first-division ticket, Lotto spokesperson Marie Winfield says it's not necessarily game over if it ever does.

Wednesday's draw will see a whopping $42 million jackpot up for grabs - the second-largest in the game's history.

Although punters have just a one in 38 million chance of striking it rich, that hasn't stopped people racing to get their tickets.

"Your chances of winning are pretty slim, but somebody's got to win," Winfield told The AM Show on Wednesday.

She said although it was "tricky to tell" exactly how many tickets had been sold, last year when $32 million was there for the taking around 1.6 million tickets were snapped up.

So what should you do with your ticket if you are the lucky winner?

"The first thing you've got to do is write your name and address on the back of the ticket," says Winfield. 

"And then we hear all sorts of stories about what people do. Some people tape their tickets to their body, some people have put it under their pillow, some people have stored it in strange and weird places like in a piano stool. Everyone's got their own ways of doing it but at the end of the day you just have to come in with that ticket."

If a winning ticket is misplaced, there may still be a way of convincing officials, she said.

"We can look at certain things, like your bank account or CCTV, so not all is lost - but my absolute advice is to hold on to your ticket, keep it close.

"Of course if you buy it online you don't have to worry about losing your ticket."

Winfield says anyone who does front up with a lucky ticket will have their winnings transferred overnight - though she cautions people not to go on a spending spree too quickly.

"The biggest advice we give to people is get really sound financial advice," she says.

"Some people struggle with their purpose in life because it completely changes their life. It's like picking up your life and shaking it around and putting it back down again - it's just not the same."

According to one financial expert Newshub spoke to, the winner could earn more than $800,000 a year for doing nothing other than putting their windfall in the bank and living off the interest.

Or, if they chose to put their money into something a little riskier like property or shares they could buy 68 houses (based on the country's median house price) and become a full-time landlord or potentially increase their wealth by more than $5 million a year by playing the stock market.

Of course, that assumes they don't lose their ticket before seeing that money in their bank account.