Lottery Addiction

Lottery Addiction

Sports Betting, Scratch Cards and the Lottery, What do they have in common?

When I thought about Gambling Addiction, I pretty much related this to Casino’s, Slot Machines, Poker Tables, Black Jack Tables, and Roulette etc. I never realized the different avenues this addiction can take. I’ve heard about Sports Betting, Scratch Cards and the Lottery, I just never thought about it when it came to addiction.

There are many people that have lost their homes, family or life due to other gambling addictions besides casino gambling. Now, I realize that not everyone forms an addiction to gambling.  Many do though.

First, I will give a small outline of what gambling addiction means and if you see yourself or anyone you know that may fall into this category, there will be treatment information included at the end of this article. I will also include Gamblers Anonymous Twenty Questions that will also be of help to those who aren’t sure if they or someone they know has formed a dependency towards gambling.

A gambling dependency or addiction is an uncontrollable, compulsive urge to gamble (also wager or bet), in spite of the consequences. A person may start to lie about their gambling or wagering activities also. When an inpidual’s behavior becomes impulsive and reckless even though there may be negative consequences, and a person just can’t stop, there’s a dependency and addiction that’s been formed.

An article I read says that according to the Mayo Clinic, gambling has grown from 80 billion dollars a year which was in 1986, to over $600 billion a year.  It also went on to say that there are more illegal bookies operating in the United States than there are police officers to arrest them.

Legality of Sports Betting:

In the United States the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 made it illegal to operate a scheme except for in a few states. In areas where sports’ betting is illegal, those who bet or wager usually do so with illicit bookmakers which are also referred to as ‘Bookies”. This is usually done on the Internet. Thousands of online bookmakers accept wagers on sporting events all around the world.

Sports betting can start out quite innocently, just wagering a small ten dollar bet on your favorite team. For many people though, that’s exactly how their addiction started. A survey shows that a large majority of male college students participate in sports gambling in one way or another. This type of gambling has become extremely addictive to many people. The effects or consequences of this addictive behavior can be severe. There are no statistics out there that I could find, but many have had to sell everything they own to cover a wager or bet they placed that didn’t pay off in their favor. Many have gotten themselves into serious debt due to betting on athletic sports. The innocent $5 or $10 bet that an inpidual made in the past has turned into thousands of dollars and the person has no way of making their wager good.

What started out as a small wager or a bet turns into high stakes and possible violent consequences for non-payment when a person loses. Large bookmaking operations that are over-seen by organized crime groups take in billions of dollars each year. Even though a person understands the risks involved in sports gambling, they just can’t stop. For some, the debt, stress and risks associated with this addiction or any other gambling addiction is more than they can handle and they take their own life.

Can playing the lottery or buying scratch off’s turn into an addiction?

Most definitely, it’s been estimated that over 2 million people play the lottery every week. Buying lottery tickets can be enjoyable and even fun, and who wouldn’t be ecstatic if by a slim chance, they actually won. Many people have done just that. The odds of winning are different depending on the state. Generally speaking though, the odds are about 1 in 15 million, so playing for fun (wishing and hoping don’t hurt either) is perfectly fine. 

Playing the lottery for some though, becomes an obsession. Spending the bulk of their paychecks on lottery tickets, selling items to purchase tickets or neglecting their financial responsibilities in order to play becomes a Lottery Ticket Addiction for many people. Some people compulsively play the lottery because they just know they will eventually win. There have been some people that actually have won a small lottery and just know it will happen again and before they know it, between the lottery and casino’s they have lost it all while trying to win again.

The same thing can be applied to Scratch-Off Tickets. Many people who are obsessed with purchasing lottery tickets are just as compulsive and out of control when it comes to these. A woman was charged with stealing nearly $69,000 from her employer to fuel her addiction to scratch-off lottery tickets.

A coroner in Quebec ruled that a lottery addiction led to a 62 year old man’s death. He shot himself because of his gambling addiction. A few years before he shot himself, he had won a $25,000 playing a lottery game. Since that win, he blew his life savings of $50,000 due to his addiction.

You don’t just have to go to a casino or play online poker in excess to form an addiction to gambling. No matter what a gambling addiction may be fueled by, it’s serious and needs to be treated by a qualified professional so that you can get back to the same wonderful quality of life you once had.

The twenty questions I talked about at the beginning of this article are as follows:

TWENTY QUESTIONS: (Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions)

  1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did gambling affect your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
  8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
  9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
  10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
  12. Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
  13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
  14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
  16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling?
  17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble?
  19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling?

There are many sad stories out there about gambling addiction. This addiction can destroy your self respect, ruin you financially, destroys families and relationships as well as contribute to the loss of life. If you or someone you love and care about has a Gambling Addiction, please call 800-559-9503 and talk to someone who cares and can guide you through a Treatment and Gambling Rehabilitation process in your area. 

Websites used in this article
Gamblers Anonymous
The Effects of Sports Gambling
The Morning Call

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    Very nice post. I am searching a post like this i am doing research on gambling addiction it help me very much to think in new dimension

  2. Addict

    since i lost my job i always have day dreams of winning the lottery everyday I buy cards imagining the 6 combination numbers. I feel worthless, I lost my goals in life dreaming that one day i'll win the lottery have my millions. buy my house, car etch... I can't stop my self

    • Addict

      I know what you mean I am addicted so much that I play every drawing, I can not go on without the thoughts that eventually I will win a big lottery. I don't know what s going to happen to me, I no longer function in society, I have become a recluse, I have no friends no life all that I do is wait for the next draw so I can play. I don't spend a lot of money but I ALWAYS have to have a few numbers

      • Addict

        Robert & Mac, I am working on a story that is about lottery addiction for Columbia College Chicago. Would you be willing to share your story with me? The story is setting out to show that lottery addiction does exist and that it can be just as serious as other forms of gambling. If you would like to be apart of this, please email me at [email protected] I hope to hear from either of you. Thank you.

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.