Lottery Addiction – Signs, Dangers, and Where To Get Help

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Last updated on June 7, 2024

Lottery addiction has often been discussed but rarely investigated. The promise of a huge jackpot prize made it the most popular form of gambling among the masses. So naturally, it is seen as a socially acceptable form of gambling.

But the lottery, like any other form of gambling, is meant to be fun. The lottery is just entertainment. However, for a minority, losses from the lottery may lead to a desperate attempt to win back money rather than having fun.

Everyone who holds misconceptions about the random nature of the lottery is at risk of addiction. So, even those responsible players may develop irresponsible behavior.

And just because you can afford to gamble in the lottery doesn’t mean you are not at risk. Lottery addiction has nothing to do with the financial capability of the gambler.

It’s how you behave when you play the lottery.

One U.S. dollar on the table

7 Signs Of Lottery Addiction

So when it comes to a point where it’s taking a toll on your life, it’s a sign that you are into some addiction problem. It’s high time to reassess how you gamble.

Here is a list of signs. If one of these applies to you, please seek professional help immediately.

#1. You are pursuing the lottery at the expense of your savings

Playing the lottery may cost around $1 to $3 per game. Playing one game occasionally probably won’t be a big issue.

If you play multiple lines, playing alone can be quite expensive. Some people play with a lottery syndicate to avoid spending too much.

I know people who play the lottery with a budget of $120 per draw. While this may seem OK for some, this doesn’t sound practical for so many.

Not everyone is capable of allocating a massive budget for entertainment purposes.

In one study by Dr. Philip Cook and Dr. Charles Clotfelter, they found out that lotteries rely on a group of heavy players who are disproportionately poor and have failed to complete high school education.1

Playing the lottery is OK. But if you cannot save money for entertainment, don’t play the lottery. The truth may hurt, but the lottery may not work for you.

Budgeting is important. You get to allocate a small portion of your income for lottery entertainment.

#2. You start to accumulate debts as a result of lottery gambling

What do compulsive gamblers do when their savings run out? They borrow money from all possible sources.

Our common sense tells us that it’s not correct to borrow money to play the lottery. But you will do everything when you have exhausted all your resources to support your lotto habit.

This means you can max out credit cards without paying the bills or neglecting loans.

Then, it’s too late when you’ve finally realized. You’ve piled up massive debt due to gambling.

Studies show that as many as 23 million Americans go into debt because of gambling. And the average loss is estimated to be around $55,000. In the lottery alone, U.S. citizens spent an average of $219.54 on the Lottery in 2017.2,3

Unfortunately, compulsive gamblers can have easy access to short-term loans. The two particular loans are payday loans and student loans. This easy access has led Ryan Myers to pile up on too many loans. Until one day, he decided to commit suicide at the age of 27.4

College students are the most vulnerable to gambling problem. Their easy access to student loans lead them to gamble.

A parallel report from BBC shows that some students have run up gambling debts of £10,000 or more, a Gambling Commission director has told the Victoria Derbyshire program.5

#3. You develop the habit of lying

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry lies. Tell me someone who doesn’t.

Lying is human. But for most of us, we try not to do it.

But if you start to get addicted to gambling, lying becomes inevitable.

When money is not available, you borrow from family and then friends.

And that’s when you become more creative, making up lies after lies.

Of course, this is neither the best time nor the way to hone a skill. Is it?

#4. You resort to theft and fraud

If lying has any relative, theft and fraud are its worst cousins.

Because if lying is not enough to support your lottery gambling, you resort to something worse.

Research conducted by The Scottish Centre for Social Research or ScotGen found that 1 in 10 gamblers had committed theft.

Addiction to lottery can lead someone to commit crime. 1 in 10 problem gamblers had commited theft and fraud according to The Australian Productivity Commission.

Addiction to the lottery can have long-lasting consequences for the individual. But it can also severely impact your family, friends, and the community. At first, you rob your family. Then your friends. Then, later, the people in your neighborhood.

A parallel study about gambling shows that gamblers often resort to crime to get more money to gamble.

#5. Are you stuck in a vicious circle?

Players who develop compulsive gambling problems tend to keep chasing for the money they had lost previously.

Chasing losses may be the most visible evidence of gambling addiction according to Dr. Henry Lesieur.

If you think you lost because you changed strategies, you got it all wrong.

With 302 million combinations in Mega Millions or 292 million chances in the Powerball, there is no room for a perfect strategy.

If you think you lost because you were not lucky, think again.

A 14 million chance in a Lotto 649 cannot make room for superstitions. Lucky or horoscope numbers will never work.

The whole idea of the lottery is pure and simple: FUN.

You play the lottery because you want to enjoy it. You experience the excitement of possibly winning the jackpot. So, your losses are just the price of entertainment. Much like concert tickets are the price of a good time.

Therefore, there is no point in chasing the money you lose in the lottery.

#6. You are too preoccupied with lottery gambling

If you are always thinking about the lottery, it’s a sign that your habit controls you.

You start to neglect your work, business, career, and family.

And that’s where the trouble begins.

If this behavioral pattern persists, everything in your life will vanish—one by one: your job, business, career, family, and even your own life.

Gambling can lead to a behavior that is out of control. This behavior can lead to a lot of different problem from bankruptcy to crime and violence, and worst, suicide.

Justyn Larcombe, a former army major, told BBC in July 2013 how gambling had ruined his life.6 He had gambled £750,000. His wife had left him with their two sons. He had lost his six-figure salary job. He accumulated £70,000 debt before returning to his mother in Kent with nothing but a bin bag of clothes.

Fortunately for Justyn, he recovered. He didn’t resort to a tragic ending like the story of a 16-year-old boy who attempted suicide after losing $6000 on lottery tickets.

#7. You keep on playing the lottery despite your desire to stop

You know when enough is enough but can’t control the temptation.

This case perfectly describes your habit of controlling yourself and not vice versa. You feel restless or irritable when you don’t play.

And sometimes, you need to gamble whenever you feel anxious, lonely, guilty, or depressed. If you’re addicted, you think that the only way to avoid temptation is to yield to it.7

Proper behavior toward gambling requires self-control.

Lottery Addiction and a Major Misconception

All lottery players are at risk of addiction. But what leads a player to problem gambling is still unknown.

Many studies indicate that the majority of players hold a lot of misconceptions about the lottery.

This wrong notion about the game contributes to lottery addiction.

Some people don’t believe that a lottery is a form of gambling. They think that the habit will not develop into an addiction. That addiction is only possible from substance abuse. And not from an activity such as buying a lotto ticket.

And that’s how the problem starts. Because you can’t fix something you don’t believe exists.

However, many studies indicate that players experience excitement and thrill from pursuing the jackpot.

A study conducted by the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery shows similar biological processes between addiction to gambling and addiction to substances.

In a parallel study, experts at the Harvard Medical School Division on Addictions say:

Monetary reward in a gambling-like experiment produces brain activation very similar to that observed in a cocaine addict receiving an infusion of cocaine.

Experts at the Harvard Medical School Division

What to do as a lottery player

With many ineffective lotto strategies available for players, some think winning is easy. Hardly.

The truth is even the most talented math prodigy will not tell you the next winning numbers in the lottery.

And neither will I.

There’s no trick to winning a lottery. The fact remains. It would be best to have patience and persistence, but at least you can use some mathematical strategy to get the best shot possible and increase your chances of winning the lotto. So, Lotterycodex is not about “predicting” the lottery.

I am all for exploring the application of math in the lottery. No more. No less.

Certainly, lottery success takes a long journey.

I offer this free guide, The Winning Lottery Formula Using Math, so you never waste money. Because the lottery is full of number combinations that are unlikely to occur.

But I recognize the fact. Lottery addiction may develop. Therefore, I propose this equation:

Persistence + Math + Proper attitude = Lottery Fun

Proper attitudes refer to many things. One is handling your existing resources, and another is how you behave toward lottery gambling.

Be a smart lottery player with a proper lottery game plan.

When we talk about the lottery game plan, we talk about timing. And you can only implement your game when you have the right attitude.

If you follow the game plan to the dot, lottery addiction is not possible.

Resources to help you understand problem gambling and lottery addiction

The impact of lottery addiction on the individual player and society can come in many ways. Below are resources to help you understand more about lottery addiction:

Where to get help for lottery addiction

If lottery addiction aggravates and it’s affecting your life negatively, it’s time to seek help. It’s good to know there is hope.

The following organizations have helped thousands of problem gamblers like you (if you are already). Choose the service that will be convenient for you according to your location or situation.

Gamblers Anonymous

Join a fellowship of men and women who come together to solve a common problem. Gamblersanonymous.org is a worldwide free service that helps gamblers recover from their gambling problems.

Meetings are the core feature of the group, and schedules are available in many countries.

Becoming a member of Gamblers Anonymous is free. The only requirement for membership is your desire to stop gambling.

Gamblers Anonymous’s funding comes mainly from self-support and contributions. It is independent of any political or religious organization.

GamCare

Are you looking for free support and counseling in the UK? Go to GamCare. Their expert service is confidential and non-judgemental.8

GamCare has chatrooms every day. You can chat live with the advisers from 8 a.m. to midnight every day of the year.

A helpline is open for anyone living in England, Scotland, and Wales. Calls to the Helpline are free from landlines and most mobile networks.

For someone living in other areas, you can contact them through email, postal mail, or phone. Visit their contact page for more information.

The Christian Centre for Gambling Rehabilitation

They provide counseling, financial advice, and group meetings. Their service includes financial management and liaising with clients and creditors to find a mutually acceptable solution.

S.A.R.G.F

If you live in South Africa, then the nearest one is The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (S.A.R.G.F).9 The organization has treated more than 16,000 problem gamblers for the past 16 years.

Their program includes educating South Africans about the dangerous effects of problem gambling. The counseling services operate 24/7.

With their treatment program, you expect to get free, professional, and confidential counseling, a thorough assessment of your gambling activity.

National Council on Problem Gambling

You can go to the National Council on Problem Gambling if you live in Singapore. This organization is a 15-member council with expertise in diverse fields. Their specialization includes psychiatry, psychology, social welfare, counseling, legal, rehabilitation, and religious services.

However, some problem gamblers get featured on the homepage of their website. So, if confidentiality is important to you, go to Gamblers Anonymous Singapore instead.

Samaritans

Do you want to talk about your problem?10

You don’t have to be suicidal. With Samaritans, you can have someone ready to listen to whatever’s getting to you.

This organization provides counseling services to anyone through 201 branches in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Questions and Answers About Lottery Addictions

What is lottery addiction?

Lottery addiction is compulsive betting behavior, often leading to significant personal and financial consequences.

What are common signs of lottery addiction?

Common signs include overspending on lottery tickets, accumulating debts, lying about betting habits, and neglecting responsibilities.

Why do some people become addicted to the lottery?

Many factors may lead to lottery addiction, such as underestimating its nature as a form of gambling, gambler’s fallacy, and misunderstanding the lottery’s negative expected value can lead to addiction.

What impact does lottery addiction have on an individual’s life?

Lottery addiction can lead to financial troubles, strained relationships, job loss, and mental health issues.

How can you prevent lottery addiction?

You can prevent addiction by maintaining a responsible attitude towards gambling, setting a budget, understanding the lottery’s expected value, and comprehending its random nature.

What should someone do if they suspect they have a lottery addiction?

Seek professional help and support from communities specializing in gambling dependence.

Additional Resources

  1. Gambling’s Impacts on People and Places    []
  2. Gambling and Debt    []
  3. How Much Do Americans Spend on the Lottery? | 2019 Lottery Study and Statistics    []
  4. He hemorrhaged money: the bereaved parents taking on the gambling industry    []
  5. Some students have £10,000 gambling debt, say Gambling Commission    []
  6. Gambling addict who lost everything rebuilds his life    []
  7. Gambling Addiction and Problem Gambling    []
  8. GamCare: Gambling Support    []
  9. The South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (S.A.R.G.F)    []
  10. Samaritans    []
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