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A town in New Zealand has begun swirling rumours of gangsters, blackmail and protection after a local man won $7.3 million on the NZ Powerball.

The man, from the town of Te Kuiti, claimed his $7.3 million NZ Powerball prize last month after the entire town had been talking about the big win. “I knew that someone in Te Kuiti had won the big prize because everyone’s been talking about it,” the lucky winner said, adding that he never expected that local winner to be himself. There is always speculation about local lottery winners, just like there was in Dorset, England, recently when a EuroMillions jackpot was won locally.

The Powerball winner had left his ticket scrunched up in the glovebox of his car but checked it a week after the drawing when he stopped at his local grocery store. “At first, I put it under the self-checker and it said, ‘major prize winner’ so I gave it to the Lotto lady and the computer locked up – that’s when I first realised that I’d won.”When lottery winners don’t come forward, people often begin circulating rumours over who the winners are, just like when two big lottery winners in Ireland hadn’t claimed their prizes weeks after the jackpot wins.

Now that the winner has his $7.3 million NZ Powerball prize in the bank, rumours have been circulating in his town about how he’s spent the money, with some even claiming that he has been confronted by a local gang member who asked him for $50,000 in ‘protection money’. Others have claimed that the winner has quit his job, and that he’s one of the luckiest men around because he won a car in a raffle not long before his NZ Powerball win. Another lucky NZ Powerball winner, who won $10.3 million thanks to a lucky feeling, was from Tauranga.

Of those rumours, the lucky NZ Powerball winner confirmed that the request for $50,000 did happen, but that it was just a prank from a work mate and they both laughed about it. The NZ Powerball winner did also win a new vehicle in a raffle, but he has upgraded the car since. Last year there was lots of speculation over who the $447.8 million US Powerball winner was, after the winning ticket was sold in California.

Whether or not he’s quit his job the NZ Powerball winner did not confirm, but he did say that he’d sought financial advice and put a deposit down on a new house for his family. Earlier this week we revealed that New Zealanders are some of the kindest Lotto winners around.

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