Lotto: Queues build ahead of record $50 million Powerball

Queues are building ahead of the staggering $50 million Lotto Powerball draw on Saturday night.

Witnesses report long queues at dairies on Auckland's North Shore, with players physically distancing, but not everyone wearing masks. 

With Auckland under alert level 3, people are asked to physically distance and to wear masks or face coverings. These are not mandatory, however.

"The most important thing right now is that our communities stay safe, so anyone buying tickets in-store needs to keep health and safety top of mind, and follow the alert level COVID-19 health and safety guidelines," says Marie Winfield, head of communications at Lotto NZ.

Lotto is expecting more than 2 million tickets to be sold for Saturday's Must Be Won Draw, and Winfield is anticipating a spike in demand later in the day. She urges customers to buy their tickets early to avoid missing out.

"As expected, we're seeing higher than usual online sales and there have been more than 32,000 new MyLotto registrations since Monday, with over half of those from the Auckland region. This is in addition to the more than 200,000 new online players since March. Around half of our sales for tonight's draw so far have been online," she says.

"I can't stress enough how important it is to buy your ticket early if you want to be in to win - preferably before 5pm when we expect high traffic on our MyLotto website and app."

If a single ticketholder wins Saturday's draw, they will take home Lotto's largest-ever prize.