The week of July 11th is National Lottery Week and a time to acknowledge that while lottery games are a form of entertainment for the overwhelming majority of Floridians who play, they can create serious difficulties for a segment of the population – problem gamblers. There are many misconceptions people have about lottery games, so National Lottery Week is a perfect opportunity to distinguish myths from facts.
|State lotteries are not a form of gambling.||State lotteries offer gambling games of chance, so when a person purchases a lottery ticket, while they may hope to win, they risk losing.|
|Lottery players are not considered gamblers.||Persons playing lottery games are no different from those who place wagers on other forms of gambling. When individuals buy lottery tickets, they are risking their money on games with uncertain outcomes, which is the definition of gambling.|
|People cannot become addicted to lottery games.||A percentage of all lottery players experience difficulties due to gambling on these games. The problems that they and their families experience are no different than other problem gamblers. It is also true that some forms of lottery games are more addictive than others (i.e., involve rapid cycles of play).|
The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’s 24-Hour Confidential and Multilingual HelpLine, 888-ADMIT-IT, continues to show lottery games among the top three forms of gambling people most identify when seeking assistance. Based upon 2019-2020 HelpLine data, the average income of lottery players contacting the crisis line for assistance had a household income of $27,477. Another interesting observation is that while 58% of those seeking help for problems relating to lottery games resided in primarily 4 different counties, three of the four counties do not offer any other forms of legalized gambling.
The important point to remember is that problem gambling is treatable for those who seek help and the first step to recovering is admitting it.
Do you or someone you know:
- Frequently stop at the convenience store, gas station or elsewhere to purchase scratch off tickets or other lottery games?
- Spend more money than can afford to lose?
- Use money earmarked for other purposes?
- Upon winning, reinvest winnings, or spend more than planned on purchases?
- Lie to others about how much money or time is spent playing lottery games?
- Experience feelings of anger, frustration or anxiety if cannot play the lottery or upon losing?
- Often think about buying lottery tickets, planning the next outing, or fantasizing about how lottery winnings will be spent?
- Borrow or steal from others to secure the funds needed to keep playing lottery games?
If you responded yes to one or more of the above indicators, gambling may be a problem. The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling’s 24/7, Confidential, and Multilingual HelpLine may be reached by calling 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321) 978-0555, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, initiating a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, or by reaching out on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The HelpLine offers help and hope for anyone suffering from the effects of a gambling problem.