‘Lucky’ Lotto stores busy as jack­pot hits $30m

Weekend Herald - - Bring On The Weekend - Cherie Howie

Nanette Wood­ham will be blow­ing a few kisses to­wards Lotto tick­ets to­day. The Hawke’s Bay woman is the man­ager at the coun­try’s luck­i­est lotto out­let — Unichem Stort­ford Lodge in Hast­ings — and is well used to peo­ple flood­ing in when a big Powerball jack­pot is up for grabs.

Tonight, one is.

It’s worth $30 mil­lion, mak­ing it the third largest jack­pot in Lotto’s his­tory.

And if any place is most likely to sell the lucky ticket, it might just be Unichem Stort­ford Lodge.

It gets the gold star, by far, for the num­ber of Lotto fam­ily — that’s Lotto, Powerball and Strike — first di­vi­sion win­ning tick­ets sold since the na­tional lot­tery be­gan in 1987.

Forty-five first di­vi­sion tick­ets have crossed the counter at Unichem Stort­ford Lodge, well ahead of run­ners-up Nel­son’s Rich­mond Night N Day, with 32.

So Wood­ham’s had a busy week and is ex­pect­ing a busier day to­day, when ex­tra staff will be ros­tered on to deal with de­mand.

“We’ve got a huge fol­low­ing, we’re one of Hast­ings’ tourist des­ti­na­tions . . . and once you get around $25-30m, that’s when you get peo­ple who never play Lotto.”

Af­ter 23 years be­hind the counter, she’s had her share of re­quests for a kiss — for the ticket, of course. “I’ve done a few, but I just blow the kiss.”

Dairy Flat Food Mart and Liquor man­ager Ki­ran­jeet Singh has also been flat tack.

A year ago the North Auck­land store sold the big­gest Powerball jack­pot in New Zealand his­tory, when a young Hi­bis­cus Coast fam­ily try­ing to save for their first home won $44m.

Sales had in­creased by about 15 per cent since the big win, and he had spo­ken to a few hope­ful pun­ters this week.

“They are say­ing it might hap­pen again. Luck might strike.”

The pre­vi­ous high­est Powerball jack­pot was $33m, won by a mar­ried “Westie” who was ex­cited to be able to buy a new car for the first time in his life.

Other big win­ners scat­tered around the coun­try have scooped up­wards of $20.5m over the last eight years.

Al­most all keep their iden­ti­ties se­cret, but Te Kauwhata su­per­mar­ket worker Trevor Cooper fa­mously went pub­lic about his $27m wind­fall in 2012, buy­ing sev­eral prop­er­ties and in­dulging in his love of off-road buggy rac­ing be­fore re­treat­ing from view.

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