Lotto pool swells to record levels

22:55, Sep 15 2013

Lotto's combined prize pool is at its highest level, which is likely to spur a spending frenzy this week.

After several weeks of jackpots there is $47 million to be won, with Big Wednesday reaching $20m and Powerball $27m.

Lotto spokeswoman Emilia Mazur said the combined weekly prize pool was the largest on offer since the game was introduced 26 years ago.

Powerball prizemoney was at its third-highest level and if won this weekend it would equal the prize won by supermarket worker Trevor Cooper in April last year.

The largest single prize collected was $36.7m on Big Wednesday, won by a Masterton family syndicate in 2009.

''There have only ever been eight prizes of more than $20 million won,'' Mazur said.

''People who don't play Powerball or Big Wednesday regularly are understandably interested.''

Problem Gambling Foundation spokeswoman Andree Froude said while Lotto was not as bad as pokie machines, which were instantaneous and cited by 70 per cent of gamblers as their main addiction, it was still a ''hook'' for some people.

Big jackpots meant an increase in advertising spend and an increase in ticket sales, with a risk some people would prioritise tickets over essential items.

''If the money's going on the tickets and not the food on the table then that's problematic.''

Lotto jackpots are capped at $30m, meaning if Powerball is not won this Saturday it must be struck the following week.

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Fairfax Media