Lotto customers urged to buy tickets early for tonight's draw or risk entering online queue

Lotto customers are urged to buy their tickets early for tonight's $23 million draw following the weekend's software issues.

In the lead-up to Saturday night's draw, customers were frustrated after experiencing issues when trying to access MyLotto's website. With just one-and-a-half hours until sales were supposed to close, many people said they were unable to buy tickets online.

The issue lasted about an hour and didn't affect the live Lotto draw itself, or in-store sales. Full services for online customers were restored just before 7pm.

But now, Lotto head of corporate communications Lucy Fullarton said while they're confident Saturday's issues won't reoccur, they're expecting heavy traffic on their website before Wednesday's draw.

"Our teams are working hard to ensure everything runs smoothly, but we urge customers to buy their tickets early, rather than leaving it to the last minute," she told Newshub in a statement. "It's possible customers who purchase tickets close to the draw may need to go into an online queue. While we try our best to avoid this, it is how we can ensure the site runs smoothly during high jackpot peak periods."

Fullarton said they had found the cause of Saturday's issue and have put some changes in place so customers have a "better experience" in the lead-up to Wednesday's draw.

Wednesday's draw will see a massive $23 million up for grabs in the Powerball draw, plus $1 million in the first division. An additional $1 million must be won in the Strike draw.

For Saturday's draw, four Kiwis took home a share of $1 million after winning First Division. The players from Auckland, Nelson, and Wellington each won $250,000 in the live Lotto draw. The winning tickets were sold at Pak'nSave Richmond in Nelson and on MyLotto.