A Nelson man who has sold more winning lotto tickets than almost anyone says the best part of his job is confirming the "life changing win" to the lucky few.
David Smolenski and wife Amber own Richmond Night 'n' Day store - the second luckiest Lotto store in the country and the luckiest store in the South Island - and are getting behind celebrations for Lotto's 25th anniversary this month.
Yesterday celebrations kicked-off and Smolenski said he expected ticket sales this month to get even busier at the family-owned store where people often queue outside the door to buy tickets on a Saturday.
The official 25th birthday draw will be held on August 25.
To date the Richmond store has sold 30 first division tickets and 105 second division tickets, giving away a total of $17.8 million.
The luckiest store in the country is a Hastings Peter Dunkerley Pharmacy which has sold 34 winning division one tickets.
Despite the Richmond store's lucky streak, no one in the Smolenski family had yet to cash-in on a big win, Smolenski said, but he refused to give up, continuing to buy at least one ticket a week, plus mailing one down to his nana in Dunedin, since taking over the store seven years ago.
However, the couple never tired of confirming a Lotto win to someone else.
"It's the best part of the job. As far as Lotto stores go you want to sell winners," Smolenski said.
The reaction of most was silent shock, then relief and excitement upon confirmation of their Lotto win, he said.
"It's a whole lot of excitement, relief and fear all in one moment. Most people are like 'oh my god then there's a big rush of relief'."
One woman was unaware she had won a prize until her ticket was checked in store and she became so excited she ran around the store.
"She was running around and around, that was probably the most active winner. The others have been more subdued," Smolenksi said.
Most winners came into the store to get their ticket checked and confirm their win within a few days, but there had been a couple who had taken a week or two because they had simply forgotten they'd bought a ticket.
The store was still waiting for a winner, who purchased a ticket in April for a Mother's Day Lotto promotion, to come in and collect the $10,000 they had won.
"Everyone should check their tickets because the $10,000 prize is still unclaimed. It was a Lotto triple dip promotion," he said.
25 years of Lotto
The 10 Lotto numbers drawn the most often are: 01, 07, 21, 13, 12, 22, 38, 27, 08 and 18.
Lotto's first draw was on 1 August 1987 and since then NZ Lotteries has given away over $7 billion in prizes to more than 300 million winners.