Playing the Lottery May Lead to Addiction

By Staff Writer

The recent drawing of the $380 million Mega Millions jackpot sent individuals from across the country to their local convenience stores to purchase a lottery ticket. While most considered it simply to be a fun way to take a shot at winning big, experts say that it can encourage gambling addiction in others.

While the most common perception of gambling addiction includes placing bets at seedy horse tracks, reality is quite different. Problem gamblers will often pursue any means available to them. In many instances, this means playing the lottery.

“In reality, there are people who could be spending their very last dollar and it’s the difference between keeping a roof over their head or buying a lottery ticket,” Heather Keyes, a Central Virginia Community Services social worker, told local ABC News affiliate WSET.

The evidence for the addictiveness of wagering on the lottery is more than anecdotal. A 2009 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that there is a strong correlation between playing the lottery and addiction.

Individuals who find it difficult to stop themselves from placing these kinds of bets may benefit from seeking substance abuse help.