How Lotto Works in New Zealand

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As is the case in many countries, New Zealand operates a national lottery system where residents can purchase tickets for the chance to win a windfall. In New Zealand, the lotto is not a private entity and is owned and operated by the Crown. The Lotto was founded in 1987 and has continuously operated since then.

Lotto in New Zealand – Rules and Regulations

The Lotto in New Zealand operates under the Gambling Act 2003, the main piece of gambling legislation in New Zealand. It is regulated by the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, which trades as LottoNZ or Lotto New Zealand and is based in Wellington.

Private lotteries are permitted in New Zealand. However, entities wishing to conduct these must obtain a licence from the Lotteries Commission to host them. In addition, the draws must be conducted in public to ensure they are transparent. Raffles and sweepstakes are included in these regulations. Draws with prizes of less than $5000 do not require a licence. 

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for enforcing the regulations and investigating any breaches. 

Types of Lotto Games in New Zealand

There are multiple ways to play lottery games in New Zealand with varying ticket prices. The most common and the first ever to be introduced in 1987 was the Lotto, a traditional lottery where people pick six numbers on a ticket and can win a prize depending on how many numbers are selected in the draw. Lotto tickets cost NZ$0.70 per line. Matching six numbers will, on average, win the player $400,000. Five numbers return an average of $20,000, four return $60, three return $24 and two provide a free lotto bonus ticket. The draw dates for NZ Lotto are every Wednesday and Saturday. 

Lotto Strike and Powerball are additional extras, optional for the player, on every Lotto ticket. Lotto Strike is a further NZ$1, and Powerball is $0.80 per ticket. 

Powerball is an additional number picked by the player to vastly increase the odds of winning. Picking six correct numbers plus a Powerball number returns the highest jackpot. The average prize for choosing all the numbers plus the Powerball is over NZ$11,000,000, although this varies. 

Lotto Strike is where the player selects four numbers (in order) to be the first four numbers in the draw. If they are correct, they win a prize. The average prize for selecting the correct numbers is over NZ$100,000. Three numbers return an average prize of $800. Two numbers give $80. One number provides a bonus ticket for another game. 

Players can also play a selection of scratchcards and online equivalents called Instant Kiwi. There are five price levels of Instant Kiwi tickets priced at NZ$1, $2, $3, $5, and $10. The more expensive tickets have higher prizes. 

The Instant Kiwi maximum prize structure is as follows:

$1 tickets:
maximum prize $10,000
$2 tickets:
maximum prize $20,000
$3 tickets:
maximum prize $40,000 or $50,000
$5 tickets:
maximum prize $75,000 or $100,000
$10 tickets:
maximum prize $250,000

Keno is an online bingo-style game where players pick a row (or rows) of numbers at $1-$100 per row and wait for numbers to be drawn. If all the numbers in their line are drawn, they may win a prize. There are four Keno draws every day in New Zealand. The top prize in Keno $250,000 for a $1 wager and $1 million available for larger wagers.

Bullseye is a daily lottery game where players select a six-digit number between 000000 and 999999. The aim is to match the number drawn. Bullseye tickets are NZ$2. The prize for winning is NZ$180,000. The prizes for getting a number close to the one drawn are as follows: 

1-5 either side:
NZ$10,000
6-50 either side:
$500
51-500 either side of Bullseye number:
$100
501-5000 either side of Bullseye number:
$25
5001-50000 either side of Bullseye number :
$2 bonus ticket

How to buy Lotto New Zealand tickets online and in-store

Kiwis can play New Zealand Lotto online through the MyLotto website (https://mylotto.co.nz) or their dedicated app. All Lotto products, including Lotto Strike, Powerball, Keno, Bullseye and Instant Kiwi, are available online. Players must be over the age of 18 to play Instant Kiwi, but none of the other lotteries have age restrictions. New Zealanders can also buy lotto tickets at physical retailers. Approved retail outlets, primarily shops, are located throughout the country and sell lottery tickets at the till. 

How can players check the results of Lotto New Zealand?

Kiwis who play Lotto online or through the app can check the winning numbers via those platforms. The draw is also televised on TVNZ on Wednesdays at 8:20pm and Saturdays at 8pm. If players need support, they can contact Lotto directly at [email protected].

How long does it take for New Zealand Lotto to pay out?

All major prizes of more than $1,000 are paid out by LottoNZ within three working days of a prize claim form being submitted. Prizes less than this amount can be claimed instantly and paid out within minutes. 

Can winnings from Lotto New Zealand be claimed anonymously?

Lottery winnings of any amount can be claimed anonymously in New Zealand. 

What are the luckiest Lotto numbers in New Zealand?

Winning numbers in New Zealand are drawn randomly, but some appear more often than others. As of April 2024, the most popular Powerball main numbers are as follows:

  • 19, drawn 189 times 
  • 23, drawn 186 times
  • 15, drawn 183 times
  • 17, drawn 178 times
  • 24, drawn 178 times
  • 25, drawn 175 times

The most common Powerball number winners, which are drawn separately, are as follows:

  • 2, drawn 125 times
  • 5, drawn 123 times
  • 1, drawn 120 times
  • 8, drawn 115 times
  • 7, drawn 112 times
  • 9, drawn 104 times

Do you pay tax on Lotto Winnings in New Zealand? 

There is no tax on Lotto winnings in New Zealand. However, winners must pay tax on the interest earned from any windfalls. 

Can Foreigners Win The New Zealand Lotto? 

Foreigners can win the NZ Lotto. However, they must be in New Zealand to play and claim prizes. The MyLotto terms and conditions state that players must register to play and that they must provide a unique New Zealand bank account and a New Zealand address. 

What is the chance of winning the lottery in New Zealand?

The chances of winning the Powerball, New Zealand’s most lucrative jackpot prize, is 1 in 38,383,800. A standard lottery ticket line, which does not include the Powerball, has a 1 in 383,838 chance of winning. The odds of winning Lotto Strike are 1 in 2,193,360.

As the player must select one number out of a million for Bullseye, the odds of winning that game are 1 in 1,000,000. 

What is the biggest lotto win in New Zealand?

The largest-ever winning Lotto jackpot size was $44,066,667. It occurred in the Powerball draw of 9 November 2016. It was split between $40,000,000 for the Powerball number and $66,667 for the main numbers. This jackpot coincided with the largest number of tickets purchased for any draw. 

What percentage of Lotto goes to charity in New Zealand?

100% of Lotto’s net profits go to charity or community groups. As of 2020, approximately 55% of sales were returned to players in prizes, 12% was paid in tax, 5% was paid in transaction fees and retail commission, and 5% spent on operating the lottery. The remaining 23% was transferred to the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, which organises the charitable activities of the lotto. 

How much money does NZ Lotto make?

The New Zealand Lotto made NZ$1,520,400,000 in ticket sales during the 2022/23 tax year. Of this, NZ$384,800,000 was profit for distribution to the grants board. 

Alfie
Writer

Alfie, hailing from New Zealand, has channeled his creativity into a flourishing writing career. Formerly a private investigator, he transitioned to full-time writing in 2019. Alfie's diverse interests fuel his work, particularly in exploring topics such as casino and gambling legislation, among other subjects. His unique background lends a distinctive insight to his detailed explorations and analyses in his writings.