FAQ

We’ve researched and answered the most common FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) relating to the general operation of the New Zealand Lottery.

Reveal the answer to each question by clicking or tapping on the specific question. We constantly monitor changes to the official rules and regulations and update this page accordingly so be sure to keep coming back.

If you have questions related to specific games, visit our Lotto, Powerball, Strike!, Keno, Bullseye and Play 3 FAQ pages.

Can’t find an answer to your question? Contact us and we’ll answer it.

When was Lotto New Zealand established?

Lotto New Zealand was officially created in 1987 as a way to raise funds for community projects throughout New Zealand.

Lotto New Zealand profits are distributed via the Lottery Grants Board to projects and activities in arts, film, sports and community schemes.

Since 1987, Lotto New Zealand has raised more than $3 billion to be awarded to deserving projects.

Lotto is a traditional lottery in which you must match 6 from 40 numbers. There is also a bonus ball drawn from the same pot.

Powerball draws an extra ball from 1-10, which combines with the main Lotto balls for bigger prizes.

Strike! challenges players to predict the first four main Lotto balls in exactly the right order.

Keno is a classic Keno game - you choose up to ten numbers from 1-80, and 20 balls are drawn, with prizes based on how many correct matches you get, and how much you wagered.

Bullseye challenges players to exactly predict the six-digit number that will be drawn, at odds of one in a million, and overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 10.

Play 3 challenges players to predict the three-digit number that will be drawn, with various types of game play to pay different prizes depending on how many digits are correct, and so on.

A single Lotto line is $0.70, but you have to play at least four lines, so the minimum ticket price is $2.80.

Powerball costs $0.80 extra per line, on top of your Lotto ticket cost, since you can't play Powerball without playing Lotto.

Strike! costs $1, and according to the new rules (from April 2017 onward) you can play it on its own.

Keno is more complicated, as you can choose your own wager, anywhere from $1 to $100 per ticket, and the prize you receive is multiplied by this (up to the maximum payout of $1 million).

Bullseye costs $2 per ticket.

Play 3 costs $1 per basic ticket, with Multi-play and Combo entries that can take this up to $2, $3 or $6.

Obviously it's up to you, but the games differ in more than just the ticket prices.

Lotto is the classic, and both Powerball and Strike! can now be added to tickets for both the Wednesday and Saturday draws. If you want to watch the draw on television for the full excitement of finding out if you have won or not, this is still the only televised option.

Keno gives you a lot of control over your entry - you can even decide how many numbers to choose, between one and ten from the 1-80 range on the play slip. You can also set your wager for each line from $1 to $100. With four draws every day and the option to enter multiple draws in advance, it's a fast-paced, high-stakes game that is likely to suit seasoned gamblers particularly well.

Bullseye is a sweet and simple random number game - the rules treat 999,999 and 000,000 as being adjacent to each other, which evens out the odds no matter what result is drawn. Plus, with a 1 in 10 overall chance of winning a prize - even if it is only a consolation prize - this easy option is likely to please anyone who gets frustrated easily after a run of losses.

Play 3, finally, is as easy or as hard as you make it, with plenty of play options that stack up on top of each other, so your improved chances of winning don't mean losing out on one of the more basic prizes.

No - to play Powerball, you must choose a minimum of four lines of Lotto, and add a Powerball number to each line at a cost of 80 cents per line. The minimum ticket price is therefore $6 (four lines of Lotto, each with the Powerball game added).

Yes. According to the new rules from April 2017, you can now play Strike! on its own. You have to remember that the numbers you choose for the Strike! game are 'linked' to the Lotto numbers - meaning that you have to match any of the first four numbers from the Lotto game in the exact order in which they are drawn.

Yes! One of the really great things about Play 3 is that you can enter any one of the main play types of game, meaning you can either bet on matching the three-digit number exactly, or in any order, or on matching any two out of the three digits.

Importantly, none of these basic game types is the 'main' or 'default' option - you have a completely free choice between the three. Multi-play tickets do exactly what they say, which is to place the same three-digit number on multiple game types, but the total cost and the prizes you will win are exactly the same as if you entered that number on separate tickets for each play type.

The only real exception to this is Combo, which is separate to the standard game types, and enters the digits of your chosen number in every possible order - up to six unique three-digit sequences. Tickets are priced accordingly, and you'll win any or all of the relevant prizes if you get a match.

Dips are probably the quickest and easiest way to play the main Lotto draw, as you can play multiple lines across Lotto, Powerball and Strike! without having to choose any of your own numbers.

The biggest Triple Dip costs $28 and will place 18 lines of Lotto automatically, along with the maximum 18 Powerball lines to go with them, and one Strike! entry too - all without you having to choose a single ball of your own.

Lotto, Powerball and Strike! take place twice weekly, on Wednesday at 08:20 p.m. and Saturday at 08:00 p.m.

Keno draws take place four times each day at 10:00 a.m., 01:00 p.m., 03:00 p.m., 06:00 p.m.

Bullseye and Play 3 draws take place every day at 06:00 p.m.

Obviously, this makes Keno the 'busiest' game, with the shortest wait for the next draw to be made. Bullseye and Play 3 are both daily options where you'll know the result by the evening, whereas Lotto and its add-on games of Powerball and Strike! are only drawn twice a week - although you can watch the draw taking place on TV.

No. You can specify which draws you want to enter for each game - for instance, you can buy tickets for multiple draws in advance on Lotto, and specify that you only want to play on Saturdays.

This is particularly relevant with Keno, where there are four draws every day, as it means you can buy into a particular draw without having to play the other three, or having to enter the very next draw regardless of the time of day.

Sales close at:

07:30 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday for Lotto, Powerball and Strike!

10:00 a.m., 01:00 p.m., 03:00 p.m. and 06:00 p.m. daily for Keno

06:00 p.m. daily for Bullseye and Play 3

However, you can start buying tickets immediately for the next Keno draw, and from about 06:10 p.m. for Bullseye and Play 3.

Only the main Lotto draw is televised at 08:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 08:20 p.m. on Wednesdays on New Zealand's TV ONE channel. These times may vary slightly but ticket sales close slightly before the actual draw anyway.

Independent scrutineers from Audit New Zealand are present at every draw, including those that are not televised. All draws take place at the TVNZ studios in Auckland.

Before each draw, a technical rehearsal takes place, using balls with no numbers on them, followed by a full dress rehearsal with numbered balls. Again, the scrutineers are present throughout this process.

Lotto NZ uses two draw machines. Between draws these machines, along with the balls used, are kept in high security, behind double-locked doors. A coin toss chooses the draw machine for each draw, as well as the set of balls to be used.

Scrutineers check before the draw that the machine and the balls are still sealed in their security cabinet, meaning they have not been tampered with since the previous draw. They also oversee regular cleaning of the balls, as dirty balls can be heavier, and each ball is weighed once it is clean to ensure they are all identical.

Unusually compared with many international lotteries, there are no age restrictions on Lotto, Bullseye, Keno and Play 3. The only game that has an age limit is Instant Kiwi, and the age limit is 18 or over.

A Dip chooses random numbers for you, rather than you choosing your own. On some games you can buy a Dip for a certain combination of tickets - e.g. a fixed number of Lotto, Powerball and Strike! lines - while on others it is basically an Autopick option.

There are lots of different ways to change the price of your ticket - from altering your Keno wager, to paying for multiple draws in advance, to buying a Dip that combines different games into one ticket.

Most of these are based on the price of the equivalent individual tickets all added up, but Bullseye is different. One Bullseye ticket costs $2, but if you enter seven consecutive draws, your total ticket price will be $10 instead of $14. You can also buy into 14 draws for $20 instead of $28.

This is unique among Lotto New Zealand games in offering a clear discount of almost a third on the cost of buying individual draw tickets every day for a week or fortnight.

Every game comes with a Dip or Autopick option, if you just want to play a set of randomly generated numbers. But for many people, choosing the 'perfect' set of numbers is part of the enjoyment of playing a lottery.

Birthdays are always popular - you could even use the two-digit version of your day, month and year of birth to create a single six-digit Bullseye entry - but remember this limits you to numbers below 31, or 12, depending on whether you use the day or month. In a random lottery, this might not affect your chance of winning, but it may affect how many people you share your prize with if lots of other people have used birthdays too.

Our Tools section is an excellent starting point if you prefer to base your entry on real-world results, and while we can help you to generate a totally random play slip, we can also produce predictions based on all kinds of data from past draws.

You might think the numbers that have been drawn most often in the past are more likely to come out again - or that those with the lowest frequency are more likely to appear to balance out the figures over the long term. We can even help you to choose multiple balls that often appear together in the main draw.

Ultimately it is a random selection in each draw, and nobody can predict exactly which numbers will come out - but at least you know your entry was based on some kind of logic, and wasn't completely random too.

In most of the games, the top prize is a jackpot - which means if nobody wins it, the cash rolls over to the next draw for an even bigger top prize. The exception to this is Play 3, where the top prize is fixed, and on Keno where no more than $1 million will be paid out in total on any given draw.

Each game where a jackpot rollover is allowed has its own maximum jackpot - and once the prize fund reaches this amount, it triggers a Must Be Won draw. This means if nobody wins the top-tier prize - i.e. the jackpot - it cascades down to the highest prize tier that has any winners.

This might not necessarily be the second tier either, if nobody matches the right number of balls, which leads to a scenario in which players in even lower prize tiers can find themselves sharing a $700,000 Strike! prize, or a $50 million Powerball jackpot.