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How Coronavirus Has Affected NZ Powerball

New Zealand Powerball is available to both online and retail players again following a temporary suspension in sales earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the impact Covid-19 has had on Powerball in New Zealand.

Sales Suspended During New Zealand Lockdown

New Zealand entered into an early lockdown on Wednesday 25 March, with the government declaring a state of emergency and placing restrictions on the movements of citizens. You were only permitted to leave home for essential work or supplies, and police officers had the power to enforce these measures if you couldn’t explain why you were outside.

To support the lockdown, Lotto NZ brought a halt to ticket sales at retail points of sale after the draw on 25 March. Some stores – such as supermarkets, petrol stations and pharmacies – remained open but their lottery counters were closed. Subsequently, it was only possible to play online.

The actions of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the government were widely praised internationally, and lockdown measures were soon able to ease following a reduction in coronavirus cases. Lotto NZ counters reopened from 13 May under Alert Level 2, helping to generate more funding for New Zealand communities.

Customers have been urged to keep their store visits short and pay by card rather than cash where possible, while increased hygiene practices and social distancing rules have also been brought in since counters reopened.

Changes to How Winning Numbers Are Chosen

Draws have continued as scheduled every Wednesday and Saturday, with lottery bosses insistent since the start that the game needed to carry on so that it could keep raising funds for good causes. However, a change was made to how the winning numbers were selected from Saturday 28 March onwards.

The draws for New Zealand Lotto and Powerball have been conducted by a random number generator instead of a traditional ball machine. This computer-generated system was already used to generate results for some of the country’s other games such as Keno and Bullseye, so was fully operational.

Playing Online

There has been a big increase in online play since the pandemic began. This is a much safer method than going to a store as you do not need to have any close contact with others and can get involved from home whenever is convenient for you.

When you choose lottery numbers online, they are kept secure so there is never any danger of them getting lost or stolen. You are also alerted by email if you win a prize so you do not even have to check the results.

Claiming Prizes

Another benefit of playing online is that prizes are paid directly into your lottery account in the majority of cases. It is only the largest awards which may require additional verification checks, and in those cases you will be notified about how to proceed when you win.

The claim period for New Zealand Powerball prizes is 12 months, but a brief extension was also given to players whose tickets expired during lockdown, giving them until 4 June to come forward. Lotto NZ also understands that many winners may prefer to wait a bit longer than usual to claim their prizes in-store, and have just reminded everyone to keep their tickets signed and safe until they are ready to come in.

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